Edition 29 | February 27, 2024

Dear Friends,

We are delighted to present to you the February edition of the monthly newsletter by the Lancet Citizens' Commission on Reimagining India’s Health System. This month's newsletter covers the impact of the Interim Budget 2024-25 on the healthcare sector, discussions on mental health in India, the importance of community action for women’s health equity, and where India is on its journey towards achieving Universal Health Coverage and the SDGs. While the budget focuses on healthcare, critical aspects requiring attention are explored, offering a comprehensive view of India's journey towards equitable healthcare for all.

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This Month's Highlight

'India in Focus' Podcast Series in collaboration with TIME Magazine's 100 most Influential Persons: Understanding Mental Health in India with Vikram Patel

This insightful podcast delves into critical discussions surrounding mental health in India, analyzing prevailing trends, disparities, and the impact of socioeconomic factors, geography, gender, and age. Professor Patel weaves through his multifaceted journey spanning from his origins in India to his distinguished tenure at Harvard University, intricately examining the nuanced landscape of mental health in India. Explore perspectives on the evolution of mental healthcare amidst pre- and post-Covid landscapes, alongside an exploration of Sangath's pioneering community-driven approach. Tune in for a thought-provoking exploration at the intersection of academia and social change.

Views & Opinions 

Community Action For Women’s Health Equity

Mirai Chatterjee talks to Fid Thompson about overcoming inequity and tackling the social determinants of health impacting female informal sector workers through collective action. Education is of paramount importance because one of the biggest barriers to health service access is lack of information. Women don't know what government health schemes and entitlements, including food, are available to them or how to access them, opines Mirai Chatterjee.

Interim Budget 2024-25: Health gets an approval but awaits a boost

The vision of Viksit Bharat by 2047 must incorporate commitment to protection and promotion of all Indians across a long, healthy and disability free life course. The gap between [the] budgetary and revised estimates must be reduced by improving the utilisation capacity of a strengthened health system and removing the bureaucratic hurdles of red tape and administrative inertia, writes K Srinath Reddy

Electoral season and restructuring the health system

India needs a strong political leadership that is not only willing to shed its preoccupation with ‘high-end’ and ‘hi-tech’ but is also courageous to undertake reforms in a synchronised way. It will be interesting to see what space will be accorded to health, education and jobs in the current discourse, writes Sujatha Rao.

Health sector believes Budget 2024 focuses on holistic well-being but critical aspects missed

While waiting for the regular budget some announcements related to health may be welcomed. These include the extension of PMJAY benefits to ASHAs, Anganwadi workers and their helpers, proposal to utilise existing hospital infrastructure to increase the number of medical colleges, strengthening of early child development through health and nutrition services under Poshan-2, opines K Srinath Reddy.

Picture credits: Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana gallery

Budget '24 rightly focuses on healthcare, but implementation will be critical

The Interim Budget 2024–25, with an allocation of ₹ 90,171 crore for health, aims to improve access to healthcare services and infrastructure in India. The government's announcement to establish more medical colleges by utilising existing hospital infrastructure will address manpower shortages while also increasing access to healthcare education, writes Gautam Khanna

Interim Budget 2024: Analysing Focus on Healthcare and Education over a Decade

While presenting the Interim Budget 2024, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman outlined the government's commitment to strengthening the healthcare system. One notable announcement was the encouragement of cervical cancer vaccination for girls aged 9-14. The Budget aims to streamline various maternal and child care schemes into a comprehensive program, with a focus on upgrading Anganwadi centres under "Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0" for improved nutrition delivery and early childhood care, writes Ankita Tiwari.


India's Journey to the Achievement of UHC and SDG Goals

On the public health front, impressive progress has been made in essential interventions such as vaccinations. There are other areas, such as comprehensive disease surveillance, that need considerable strengthening. For disease surveillance, with the expansion of health and wellness centres, there is an opportunity to convert a carefully selected subset into sentinel sites, writes Nachiket Mor.

Featured Partner

Society for Community Health Awareness Research and Action (SOCHARA) is an independent non-government organisation registered under Karnataka Societies Registration Act 17A (1960). SOCHARA is providing research support to the Human Resources for Health (HRH) workstream, Community Engagement, and TOC processes of the Commission.

Help us develop a roadmap to achieve universal health coverage in India by visiting our website: https://www.citizenshealth.in/

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We love hearing back from you! Please send your comments, suggestions, and contributions for these newsletters, including research highlights and published features to [email protected]

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