The National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC), being the technical support institution of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) was tasked with the drafting, review and revision of New National Health Policy.
This office played an important part in development of multiple background papers, the approach paper to the National Health Policy as well as the first draft. A particularly intense role was played by the Public Health Planning division of this office led by Dr Satish Kumar and his team in developing the revised draft of the National Health Policy incorporating suggestions from close to 5000 comments on the first draft of NHP placed in public domain for comments and suggestion in January 2015. In addition, the whole process of revision was made very participative through involvement of States, civil society and various professional bodies. 5 regional workshops were held in different parts of the country to elicit the policy expectations from these stakeholders. All these workshops held specific discussions on following areas:
- Addressing the commitment and unfinished agenda of the previous National Health Policy (NHP 2002).
- Aligning to the commitments made by the government to improve the health of vulnerable and marginalised groups as reflected in related national and international commitments.
- Review of the evidence base of the draft policy to improve health care delivery in the private and public sector and identifying time bound quantifiable and monitorable Goals that the new National Health Policy should aspire for
- Relevant dimensions, if any, which require additional emphasis or inclusion in the current draft policy document.
The civil society consultations at both state and national level largely expressed satisfaction with the existing draft. However, concerns were raised with regards to the special needs of the adolescents, urban poor and migrants. Various mechanisms for easing civil society participation and regulation of private sector in health sector (planning, provision of services, monitoring of services) were proposed too.
The Draft National Health Policy was reviewed by the health ministers of various States through the platform of CCHFW. Close coordination and support was also provided to the Ministry in this exercise.
India’s National Health Policy 2017 was approved by the Cabinet on 15th March and presented in the House of People (Lok Sabha) on 16th March 2017. The Minister for Health while making a statement on the health policy informed the house on the ‘highly participative and consultative approach in policy formulation process’. We are happy to be part of this endeavour.