In the year 2018, the government made a slew of announcements in the healthcare sector, many arguably with good intent, but now all eyes would be on the implementation. In fact, there are so many of them that some political analysts feel, Prime Minister Modi may perhaps make healthcare measure an election plank in 2019. Though many are far reaching in terms of intent, there is still a long way to go.
Consider some of the major announcements made during the year.
The medical professionals in the country rang in the new year day of 2018, debating the implications of the National Medical Commission Bill tabled in the Lok Sabha. There is still some time before the medical education can be reformed since the Parliament has still to evaluate the objections raised before granting its final approval.
The very next month, finance minister Arun Jaitley announced a major health cover programme, Ayushman Bharat in his budget speech. But then, a third of the total target population of this programme, happen to be from four states, which officials refer to as "green field states". These states start with a zero base and unlike other Indian states, especially in the South, first need a structure of trust, get quality private sector hospitals to come on board and put in place an IT infrastructure to sync them all together.
Very recently, the government again announced a landmark step in Indian healthcare, when the Union Cabinet approved the Allied and Healthcare Professionals Bill, 2018. It is meant to be path-breaking, as would lead to regulation and standardisation of education and services of allied and healthcare professionals such as the lab technicians, X-ray technicians, optometrists, audiologists and several other who play a crucial role but are not regulated. But then, it will be again sometime before it becomes a reality.