Tarunabh brought my attention to this article in the Indian Express indicating that two members of the National Advisory Council have initiated a proposal to provide universal health care before the NAC. This is indeed a welcome move but in no way indicates that the government will actually commit to the provision of universal health care.
The article includes the following quote from a senior Health Ministry official, “Universal health coverage as a policy decision is yet to be taken. We are ready to start it on a pilot scale whenever we get the green signal but work on a roadmap can only start seriously when we are clear about the kind of financial commitments the government is willing to make and over what period.”
In a recent post on this blog, referencing my Op Ed on this subject, I had described the current crisis of health service delivery in India and argued in favour of a system of universal health care as a means of addressing it. In the same post, I had noted that 47% of all children in India are underweight and malnourished, a fact which was recently acknowledged by the Prime Minister, though he put the number at 42%. I hope the Prime Minister’s recognition of the gravity of the nutrition and health crisis in India will lead the government to act speedily in enacting and implementing universal health coverage for all.