What are the main objectives of National Health Policy?

The National Health Policy-2002 aims at reviving and emerging the ailing health system and increasing the primary health sector outlay to ensure a more equitable access to health services across the social and geographical expanse of the country.

However, the main objective of the policy is to achieve an acceptable standard of good health amongst the general population by the country. The approach of the policy is to increase access to the decentralized public health system by establishing new infrastructure in deficient areas and by upgrading the infrastructure in the existing institutions.

The contribution of the private sector in providing health services is also to be enhanced, particularly for the population group which can afford to pay for services. The policy has also planned to increase health sector expenditure to 6% of GDP. The National Health Policy-2002 sets out an allocation of 55% of the total public health investment for the primary health sector, 35% for secondary health sector and 10% for tertiary health sector respectively. Apart from these, the policy envisages the gradual convergence of all health programmes under a single field administration.

Programmes for control of major diseases like TB, Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and Universal Immunisation programmes to be continued till moderate success is achieved. The policy further emphasized on the revival of the primary health system by providing some essential drugs under central governmental funding through the decentralized health system.

Apart from these major provisions of the National Health Policy-2002 are:

(i) Role of local self government:

Policy lays great emphasis upon the implementation of public health programmes through local self government institutions.

(ii) Use of generic drugs and vaccines:

Both for public and private sector, this is a pre­requisite for cost effective public healthcare.

(iii) Urban Health:

National Health Policy-2002 envisages the setting up of an organized urban primary health care structure. The structure conceived under the policy is two- tiered one, the primary centre is seen as first tier covering a population of one lakh with a dispensary providing an OPD facility and essential drugs, to enable access to all the national health programmes and a second tier of the urban health organisation at the level of the government general hospital where reference is made from primary centre.

(iv) Mental Health:

Policy also envisages a network of decentralized mental health services for ameliorating the main common categories of disorders. The programme outline for such a disease would involve the diagnosis of common disorders, the prescription of common therapeutic drugs by general duty medical staff. '

(v) National Disease Surveillance Network:

The policy also envisages the full operationalisation of an integrated disease control network from the lowest rung of public health administration to the central government by 2005. The programme under this includes installation of data-base handling hardware. Information Technology connectivity between different tiers of the network and in house training for data collection, and interpretation for undertaking timely and effective response.

(vi) Women's Health:

The policy also noted that women a long with other under privileged groups have low access to healthcare and this also recommends expansion of primary health sector infrastructure that will facilitate increased access of women to basic health care.

(vii) Medical Ethics:

In order to ensure that common patient is not subjected to irrational or profit driven medical regimes contemporary code of medical ethics be notified and rigorously implemented by the Medical Council of India.

(viii)Impact of globalization on the health sector:

The health policy also takes into account the serious apprehension expressed by health experts about the possible threat to health security in globalization era, as a result of a sharp increase in the prices of drugs and vaccines. To protect the citizens from such a threat, the policy envisages a national patent regime for the future which will be consistent with TRIPS.