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Union Cabinet approved the National Health Policy 2017

The new policy will replace the 2002 Health Policy, which was preceded by the first National Health Policy of independent India in 1983.

The policy proposes that the government undertake an increase in health expenditure as a percentage of GDP from the existing 1.15% to 2.5 % by 2025. Even if this is achieved, it will be half of what the World Health Organisation recommends as optimum public spending on health.

Main features of National Health Policy 2017

  1. It aims/ targets
  • To raise public health expenditure to5% of the GDPin a time bound manner from way below 2% of GDP expenditure on the sector at present.
  • To increase life expectancy to 70 years from 67.5
  • To reduce fertility rate to 1 by 2025
  • To reduce Under-Five Mortality to 23 by 2025
  • Maternal Mortality Rate to 100 by 2020
  • Infant mortality rate to 28 by 2019
  • Neo-natal mortality to 16 and still-birth rate to single digit by 2025.
  • To achieve and maintain elimination of leprosy by 2018
  • To eliminate of kala-azar by 2017
  • To eliminate of lymphatic filariasis in endemic pockets by 2017.
  • Reducing premature mortalityfrom cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases by 25% by 2025
  • It seeks to reduce the prevalence of blindness to 0.25 per 1,000 persons by 2025 and the disease burden by one-third from the current levels
  1. It proposes free diagnostics and drugsat all public hospitals
  2. It seeks to move healthcare away from sick care to wellness
  3. Yogawould be introduced much more widely in schools and work places as part of promotion of good health
  4. It seeks stronger partnership with the private sector.
  5. It advocates allocating major proportion (two-thirds or more) of resources to primary careand aims to ensure availability of two beds per 1,000 population
  6. Policy seeks to achieve ‘90:90:90’ global target by 2020, implying that 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of those diagnosed with HIV infection receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of those receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression
  7. The policy envisages a three dimensional integration of AYUSH systemsby promoting cross referrals, co-location and integrative practices across systems of medicines

Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016

The Bill is an amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, which protects the employment of women and entitles her to full-paid absence from work to take care for her child.

India become third on the list of countries with most maternity leave, after Canada and Norway where it is 50 weeks and 44 weeks respectively

Women working in the organised sector will now be entitled to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks

The new law will apply to all establishments employing 10 or more people and the entitlement will be for only up to first two children. For third child, the entitlement will be for only 12 weeks.

The Bill also provides for maternity leave of 12 weeks to mothers adopting a child below the age of three months as well as to commissioning mothers (defined as a biological mother) who uses her egg to have a surrogate child

It also makes it mandatory for every establishment with more than 50 employees to provide creche facilities within a prescribed distance. The woman will be allowed four visits to the creche in a day. This will include her interval for rest

The Bill has a a provision under which an employer can permit a woman to work from home, if the nature of work assigned permits her to do so

Compiled by

Dr. Satya Prakash Tripathi

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