Draft National Health Policy 2015: getting behind the rhetoric

Amit Sengupta

Abstract

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently unveiled a draft “National Health Policy (NHP)”, which was available for public comments till March 10, 2015. Arguably the exercise of crafting a national policy on health is an important and necessary step towards universalising access to healthcare. However, past experience would make us somewhat cynical while analysing the process and its outcome. The 2015 policy is to replace the 2002 Health Policy, which, in turn, was preceded by the first NHP of independent India, declared in 1983. The fact that it took successive governments 36 years following Independence to develop a national policy on health, in itself speaks of their degree of seriousness, as does the fact that the policy has been revised only once in the intervening 32 years.

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