Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Thursday sought suggestions from the health secretaries of all states on the National Health Assurance Mission (NHAM), aimed at reducing the out-of-pocket spending on health care by the common man."The NHAM will end forever the marginalisation of the majority of Indians from quality and affordable health care. Once the government gets all the suggestions from the state health secretaries, the NHAM can be made a dynamic, empowering instrument in the hands of 1.25 billion Indians," Harsh Vardhan said.He was addressing a meeting of state health secretaries at the AIIMS here.
The minister said that NHAM is at present being readied for submission to the union cabinet."After it meets with approval, it will be rolled out by the end of the current financial year in a phased manner. A sound regulatory system would be erected to ensure that the assurance does not remain a paper promise," he said.He announced that a series of meetings between the union health ministry and the health secreataries will be organised in the next couple of months to make the NHAM a perfect "pro people mission".He advised health secretaries to promote the culture of rational prescribing of drugs among doctors.
"If necessary, the secretaries can insert a clause on mandatory prescribing of rational drugs into the contract of new doctors joining the health service," Vardhan said.He also urged the states to optimally utilise the funds sent by the Centre under the National Health Mission and other health programmes.Vardhan stressed the need to institutionalise this dialogue as sharing of experiences is an essential part of consensus building.Talking about medical practitioners, Vardhan said the health ministry has written a letter to the Medical Council of India (MCI) making a duration of six months to one year of rural posting of the doctors pursuing their post-graduation in the rural areas of the country."This will help the young doctors develop a positive attitude towards the health problems in rural India, which is lacking till now," he said.