Increase national health budget to 3 per cent: Chennai Declaration | india | Hindustan Times
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Increase national health budget to 3 per cent: Chennai Declaration

The International Conference on Health Systems Strengthening (ICONHSS) concluded on May 9 with the release of the Chennai Declaration by Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary, K S Sripathy in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu.

india Updated: May 11, 2010 17:45 IST
HT Correspondent

The International Conference on Health Systems Strengthening (ICONHSS) concluded on May 9 with the release of the Chennai Declaration by Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary, K S Sripathy in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu.

The declaration was introduced at the inauguration of ICONHSS, held from May 6-10 in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu. What set this health conference apart from others was not on how to tackle one specific disease but to strengthen the health system as a whole, including strengthening human resources, health data collection and analyzes, health research and governance.

It urges the central government to increase public health care expenditure to a minimum of 3 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2012, which is the total value of goods and services produced in a country. Currently, India's expenditure on health care is 1 per cent of its GDP.

“We’ve come out with a declaration. We’re going forward with it,” said Dr S Vijayakumar, Special Secretary to Government, Health and Family Welfare Department and Project Director of Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project (TNHSP). He said that the Tamil Nadu government has requested Dr Syeda Hameed, member, Planning Commission and Dr Sujatha Rao, Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to push the declaration forward at the national level. Both are signatories.

The Chennai declaration also urges the central and state governments to strengthen governance through increasing transparency, reform human resources to keep the country’s health workforce from migrating abroad, expand public-private partnership to improve quality of health care, improve laws to regulate private and public health care providers, improve the processes of collection, analysis and dissemination of health data and, lastly, to encourage research on health systems so that policies are framed on the basis of evidence.

A core committee was formed on May 10 to push the declaration at the national level. “We’ve formed a core committee. We’ll be sending it (Chennai Declaration) to the central and state governments,” said Dr Kamatchi, Expert Adviser for Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project (TNHSP). He added that Committee will stress that the central and state governments increase the health budget but also improve health care institutions “to better utilise the budget.”

Over 500 participants, including health care workers, government officials, researchers, and members of national and international development organisations signed the Chennai declaration at ICONHSS.

The conference was organised by the Tamil Nadu government along with the central government, World Bank, United States Agency for International Development, National Aids Control Organisation as well as other partners.

Rao has also asked the Tamil Nadu health department to draft Cardiovascular disease (CVD) guidelines, Dr S Vijaykumar said.