Health Sector Current Affairs

NITI Aayog launches SATH Program

NITI Aayog has launched SATH-‘Sustainable Action for Transforming Human capital’ with the State Governments for furthering the agenda of cooperative federalism. 

Salient Highlights

NITI Aayog under the SATH initiative plans to identify and build three future ‘role model’ states for health systems.  

After identification of three states, NITI Aayog will work in close collaboration with the state machinery of these three states. It will help in designing a robust roadmap, develop a program governance structure, establish monitoring and tracking mechanisms, and provide support to the state institutions to achieve the end objectives.

SATH program will be implemented by NITI Aayog along with McKinsey & Company and IPE Global consortium.

Selection of States 

For selecting three model states, NITI Aayog spelled out three-stage process, namely, expression of interest, presentations by the states and assessment of commitment to health sector reforms.

Subsequently, 16 states expressed interest in the initiative out of which 14 states presented their project proposals-Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

From these four states, NITI Aayog has shortlisted 5 states. After subsequent screening and evaluations, three states will be selected. Parameters such as MMR, IMR, incidence of malaria will be considered for determining potential impact, and metrics such as density of doctors and nurses, compliance to IPHS norms will be used to determine likelihood of success.

The program will be launched after signing of MoUs with these three selected states.

NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog is essentially an advisory body that seeks to provide critical directional and strategic inputs across spectrum of key elements of policy to the centre as well as states. The Government of India has established Niti Ayog as a “Think Tank” which has no power to impose policies. By establishing Niti Ayog the government wants to be an “enabler” and leaves the impetus to provide a platform for cooperative and competitive federalism to the newly established body.

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Delink drug prices from R&D costs: UN

The United Nations High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines has called for delinking drug prices from research and development (R&D) costs.

The report submitted by panel calls for human rights to be placed over intellectual property laws of pharmaceutical companies and incoherence between them should be narrowed.

Key Recommendations

  • All countries must freely be able to use flexibilities granted under TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) to access affordable medicines.
  • Countries that retaliate and threaten against generic drugs makers in different countries under the TRIPS Agreement must be forced to face significant sanctions.
  • Public health assessments must be done with every free trade negotiation to assess the possible impact on public health and creation of public health patentability criteria.
  • Governments engaged in bilateral and regional trade and investment treaties should ensure that these agreements do not include provisions that interfere with their obligations to fulfil the right to health.
  • Research institutions and universities that receive public funding must prioritize public health objectives over financial returns in their patenting and licensing practices.
  • Governments should increase their current levels of investments to in heath technology innovation to address unmet needs.

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