This section hosts guidelines, manuals and toolkits to strengthen public health practice.
In the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath have highlighted the importance of a robust public health system. In India, states have the primary responsibility of managing the public health system. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare sets the overall policy and regulatory framework of the health sector. It also implements the National Health Mission and various other schemes which deal with all levels of healthcare systems in the country. Last year, one of the focus areas in the union budget was health and well-being. This translated into the announcement of the PM AtmaNirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana which seeks to improve healthcare systems at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels; allocating Rs 35,000 crore towards the COVID-19 vaccination program; and allocating additional grants to states for health, water, and sanitation. While these programs and schemes have helped in improving the status of the public health system in the country, there is still a long way to go. India’s overall investment in its public health system is one of the lowest in the world. The physical infrastructure of health systems is still fairly poor, especially in rural areas. There is a shortage of human resources (both doctors and support staff). People continue paying high amounts out of their own pocket implying that access to public health care, quality of public health care, and overall insurance coverage needs to improve. The National Health Profile (2020) recognizes that health financing is one of the key ways to achieve universal health coverage, which is one of the goals under the National Health Policy, 2017.
Appropriate health financing will also help ensure adequate funds for health care, provide equitable access to all population groups and reduce barriers to utilize health services. In this note we examine the trends in the financial allocation towards the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, issues with health financing, and key issues with the health sector. This note examines the trends in the financial allocation towards the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, issues with health financing, and key issues with the health sector.