A leading health expert has suggested reforming the country’s Central Government Health Scheme as a first step towards ”universalising” access of all Indians to aCGHS-like service.Writing in the National Medical Journal of India, Rakesh Sarwal, a member of NITI Aayog,favoured creating a trust-like corporate entity that will be ”at an arm’s length” from the Ministry ofHealth and Family Welfare (MOHFW) having ”operational flexibility, clear mandate and measurable deliverables” resultingin ”a cost-conscious, outcome-driven, client-centred and professional organisation.”This was expected to improve health and productivity of individuals and population, prevent peoplefrom being driven into poverty in paying for needed health services and also reduce social inequity.
Under CGHS, an estimated government employees, pensioners and other beneficiariescan avail cashless diagnostics and treatment at subsidised rates. The scheme,which runs across 25 cities, functions through 273 allopathic dispensaries andtie-ups with 560-odd private hospitals.Noting in his essay ”Reforming Central Government Health Scheme into a UniversalHealth Coverage model” that Universal Health Coverage (UHC) was recognised as a goalof all health systems worldwide, irrespective of income levels, the author, appointedas advisor (health) in the NITI Aayog, champions the roll-out of Universal HealthCoverage (UHC), as proposed in the 12th Five-Year plan.
This, he says, would be in keeping with a mid-term appraisal of the TenthPlan (200107) recommending that CGHS be conferred greater operational autonomy,since giving autonomy to CGHS was a prerequisite to obtaining efficiency throughmedical reforms.Outlining the changed scenario, he suggests a slew of reforms in CGHS to strengthengovernance and financing of a comprehensive primary care system.Under the new system, each beneficiary family would be mapped to a health team,which could partner together to promote health, prevent disease and improve outcomes,the author says, calling for CGHS dispensaries to be responsible for public healthfunctions in the locality, such as disease surveillance, assessing health status ofpopulation, sanitation, testing for water and food quality in the area.More UNI SD SB 1133
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