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How to achieve universal health coverage in India? Experts discuss ways

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The Lancet, which is a global health journal, Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute and Harvard University has come together to formulate a Citizens’ Commission on reimaging India’s health system. This Citizens’ Commission over the next two years will be formulating a blueprint to implement universal health coverage in India. Inputs from this will be taken by the government and a larger policy on a universal healthcare system could be in the making.

The Lancet, which is a global health journal, Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute and Harvard University has come together to formulate a Citizens’ Commission on reimaging India’s health system.
This Citizens’ Commission over the next two years will be formulating a blueprint to implement universal health coverage in India. Inputs from this will be taken by the government and a larger policy on universal healthcare system could be in the making.
The Commission will be led by four distinguished health and business leaders and three of whom spoke to CNBC-TV18 -- Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson at Biocon Ltd; Vikram Patel, Professor of Global Health at Harvard Medical School and Gagandeep Kang, Professor at Christian Medical College, Vellore.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said, “The COVID pandemic has actually exposed fragility not just in India but across the world, in public health, primary healthcare and in our healthcare delivery systems across the board. I think this is a very opportune and timely intervention that is happening where the The Lancet Citizens’ Commission is really going to change the way we look at developing a healthcare model for a country like India.”
Vikram Patel said, “The efforts of the current government is making - for example Ayushman Bharat are just examples of different programs or missions that successive governments have implemented. But there are some really significant fracture points and the key one is that our healthcare landscape is very fragmented. Two good examples of that fragmentation are very evident in the COVID-19 in pandemic and one of them is private public spilt and the second one is the split between so called modern medicine or allopathic traditions of medicine with the Indian systems of medicine.”
He observed that, “So one of the efforts we need to make as a commission is to find a consensus a way in which all these diverse players can actually set together around a table and agree on their respective roles in order to achieve universal health coverage.”
Prof. Gagandeep Kang said, “The commission is going to be around access and around affordability so that we can promote equity in healthcare. In order to do that it is going to be very necessary for us to look at systems that has worked in India and we have small-scale models where affordable, and quality healthcare has been delivered to population.”
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