Aayushman Bharat Current Affairs - 2019

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G20 Health Ministers Meeting

The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare attended the G20 Okayama Health Minister Meeting that was held between October 19 and October 20, 2019. It was held under the Presidency of Japan.

Highlights of the meeting

  • The deliberations of the meeting focused on the following
    • Achievement of Universal Health Coverage
    • Management of health risks and health security management including Anti-Microbial Resistance
    • Response of population aging
  • Okayama Declaration was adopted at the meeting. It had 52 articles. It includes commitment of G20 countries to address the major global health issues. It also highlighted 2030 SDG-Sustainable Development Goal.
  • The next meeting is to be held in Saudi Arabia. The commitments of the Declaration will be reviewed then.

India’s intervention in the meeting

  • The Union Minister Dr Harsha Vardhan represented India at the meeting
  • He shared India’s achievement in the health sector at the meeting. He highlighted the success of Ayushman Bharat, FIT India Movement and Eat Right Movement. The Minister also confided that India is on the path to Universal Health Coverage.
  • The Minister in his intervention shared India’s vision towards its 20% elderly population by 2050. He also mentioned about National Programme for Health Care of Elderly, health measures to tackle Dementia, etc.
  • As a part of the meeting, on 20th October, 2019 a simulation exercise on “Public Health Emergency during mass gathering” was conducted. The Minister speaking at the exercise shared the two best India practices
    • Successful polio campaign in India
    • The Bring down of mass hysteria created by Social media during Nipah outbreak in Kerala in 2018

Centre to raise Health Services Expenditure to 2.5% of GDP by 2025

Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan while addressing a query during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha announced that Government has set a target to raise health services expenditure to 2.5% of country’s GDP (Gross domestic product) by 2025. He also highlighted that public expenditure on health services has increased continuously over the years and continues to increase.

Key Highlights

The government’s objective is in line with National Health Policy 2017 which envisages increasing public health expenditure to 2.5% of GDP by 2025.

The policy also recommends that State governments should spend more than 8% of their budget on health sector by 2020.

Steps taken by Government:

Under Aayushman Bharat programme ( or Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana or National Health Protection Scheme), Government envisions setting up 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres by 2022 and out of this 18,000-19,000 have already been established. These centres will boost healthcare facilities in country’s Urban as well as rural areas.

The 3% Education Cess on personal income tax and corporation tax to is already replaced with 4% Health and Education Cess so as to cater to education and health needs of poor and rural families.

Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) has also started supporting infrastructure works of medical institutions.