Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the ‘The Lancet’, said the prime minister has grasped the importance of health not only as a natural right of citizens, but also as a political instrument to meet the growing expectations of the emerging middle class of India, which is engulfed in a “swirling epidemic of non-communicable diseases”.
“After years of neglect, the Indian Government has at last recognised the perils of public discontent about health. Under a new initiative called Ayushman Bharat launched this year, Prime Minister Modi has implemented two new flagship programmes. Ayushman Bharat has two pillars — the creation of 1,50,000 health and wellness centres across the country to provide a spine of primary care facilities to deliver universal health coverage; and the National Health Protection Mission (NHPM), a health insurance aimed at providing coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, thus benefiting more than 10 crore poor families,” said the article.
“Together, these twin programmes should improve access to quality health services and reduce out-of-pocket health expenditures,” it said.