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Govt drafting a National Health Policy to meet rising demand for sustainable healthcare
The government is in the process of drafting a National Health Policy to meet the rising demand for sustainable healthcare across the country. This was stated by Lov Verma, Secretary - Health & Family Welfare, at 'FICCI Heal 2014'.
This year the theme of the conference is 'Innovation Enabling Access'. The two-day conference is focusing on opportunities and challenges to promote innovation which can change the current paradigms and move towards better, efficient and cheaper options for accessible, affordable and quality healthcare in India.

In his special address, Verma said that new systems will be put in place in the National Health Policy and the government may even consider setting up an Innovation Health Fund. He also urged the industry to compile the best practices and innovations of the industry and submit it to the Ministry for consideration.

Speaking on various government innovations, Verma said that the colour coded linen in hospitals is a simple method of differentiating various linen, hence reducing the risk of cross-infection. The coding should be followed by hospitals right up to district level healthcare centres, he suggested.

Ayush is another initiative of the government which has potential but has not been utilized to its full capacity till now. There is great scope for popularising alternative medicine and mainstreaming it with general medicine, he added.

The Secretary also dwelt on the importance of electronic health records (EHRs) and thanked FICCI for supporting the government in this initiative. He urged the private and public sector to join hands and make the EHRs drive a success story across the country. Patient transport system and mobile medical unit are other efforts of the government to make healthcare accessible in remote areas.

Dr. A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, while supporting the central theme of the conference announced, "We propose to create a virtual pooling of industry CSR funds by creating IISH (Indian Industry in Solidarity for Health) Kosh to channelize funds into priority area in healthcare identified by the government. FICCI Health Services Committee is keen to work with the Health Ministry to develop a directory of healthcare activities based on the priorities of the government so that the CSR funds are channelized in the right direction to support National Health Assurance mandate of the government."

In her address, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director-SEARO, World Health Organization, emphasized the need for innovation to make healthcare affordable and accessible to all. The healthcare arena, she said, could be classed into three 'H'. There is the 'Hard-core' need for innovations in developing new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics. Then there is the 'Health Systems' innovation need such as the use of technologies such as mobile phones by health workers for patient referrals, event reporting and disease surveillance.

Elaborating on the conference theme, Sangita Reddy, Chairperson, FICCI Health Services Committee & Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group, said, "Across industries, disruptive innovations have brought forth greater efficiencies, efficacy, economy and higher quality. The healthcare sector too needs to nurture such innovations as they are the need of the hour. Our nation like most other across the world is standing at the precipice of crisis created by the burden of disease and woefully inadequate healthcare infrastructure. Over the last four years, FICCI has been making sincere efforts to encourage health innovators offering solutions to deliver care more effectively while improving access and quality from the grassroots level."

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