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HEALTHCARE

Private Hospital will have to Put Aside Free Treatment for the Poor

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered Delhi's private hospitals, built on subsidised government land, to provide free treatment to the poor, saying they cannot "wriggle out" of their responsibility.

A bench of justices R V Raveendrana and A K Patnaik asked the city hospitals to reserve 25 per cent of their out-patient department capacity and 10 per cent of beds at the indoor level for free treatment of the poor.

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The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered Delhi's private hospitals, built on subsidised government land, to provide free treatment to the poor, saying they cannot "wriggle out" of their responsibility.

A bench of justices R V Raveendrana and A K Patnaik asked the city hospitals to reserve 25 per cent of their out-patient department capacity and 10 per cent of beds at the indoor level for free treatment of the poor.

The hospitals cannot "wriggle out" of their responsibility to treat the poor free of cost, the court said.

"The bottom line is that the poor patients are not to be charged," said the bench, dismissing the plea of some private hospitals against providing free treatment to the poor.

The court passed the order on a batch of petitions filed by ten private hospitals challenging a Delhi High Court order to provide free treatment to the poor patients as per the land lease agreements between the government and them.

There are 37 hospitals which were granted land by the government at concessional rates out of which 27 have been providing free treatment to poor patients.

"Why did you (hospitals) take the land? You hand over the land to the government and purchase it somewhere else," the bench remarked when the counsel appearing for the hospitals pleaded that it was not practical to provide free treatment to the poor in all the cases.

"You want to wriggle out after signing the contract with the government while taking the land (at concessional rate)," the bench said.

The hospitals contended that the treatment of diseases like cancer, neuro surgery and plastic surgery are costly and cannot be provided free of cost.

The bench upheld the Delhi High Court's order, which, in 2007, had ruled that all private hospitals which were given public land at highly subsidised costs would provide free treatment to the poor, earmarking 25 per cent of their out-patient department (OPD) capacity and 10 per cent of their in-patient department capacity for them.

"They (poor patients) will be provided free admission, bed, medication, treatment, surgery facility, nursing facility and consumables and non-consumables. The hospitals charging any money from such patients shall be liable to be proceeded against in accordance with the law. Besides that, this would be treated as violation of the orders of the court," the high court had said.

The high court had pronounced the judgement on a PIL seeking implementation of the land lease agreement between the government and the hospitals for providing, among other things, free treatment to certain percentage of the poor patients out of their total treatment capacities.

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HEALTHCARE

Arunachal Pradesh Launches Two New Contraceptives

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Arunachal Pradesh government has launched two new contraceptives – an injectable one and a pill – under separate programmes to expand people’s choice contraceptives.

The injectable contraceptive was launched under the ‘Antara’ programme and the pill under ‘Chhaya’.

Gynecologists of various districts of the state were also trained on the new contraceptives during a programme. Family Welfare Director Dr K Lego urged people to take up the responsibility of providing the people the basket of contraceptives to avoid unnecessary abortion, teenage pregnancy and spacing.

India was the first country in the world to launch family planning programme as early as in 1952 with the aim of controlling its population, he said.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had launched two new contraceptives in September last year.

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India Registers Significant Decline in Child Mortality Rate

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Rate of decline has doubled over last year

Big boost to ‘Mission Indradhanush’

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda, expressed happiness over the just-released SRS bulletin (2016) as India registered a significant decline in under-five child mortality.

According to the bulletin, under-five child mortality (U5MR) of India showed an impressive decline by 9%, a 4 points decline from 43 per 1000 in 2015 to 39 in 2016.

The rate of decline has doubled over the last year. Not only this, number of under-five deaths for the first time in the country have come down to below 1 million with nearly 120,000 fewer under-five deaths in 2016 as compared to 2015.

Most of the states have shown good progress in reduction of under-five child mortality from the previous year, except Chattisgarh, Delhi and Uttarakhand, which have shown a slight increase over the previous year and Telangana, which has shown no change in 2016.

Congratulating all those associated with this remarkable feat,  Shri Nadda stated that the results signify that the strategic approach of the Government is yielding dividends and the efforts of focusing on low performing states are paying off. He stated that India with the current rate of decline of U5MR is on track to meet the SDG target for under-five child mortality of 25 by 2030.

The Health Minister further said that under the visionary leadership and guidance of the Hon. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji, the government is committed to advancing the agenda of Universal Health Coverage in the country and its initiatives like Mission Indradhanush and Intensified Mission Indradhanush, with their focused approach, is significantly turning the tide in favour of India.

Shri Nadda said that these remarkable achievements in merely one year are the result of countrywide efforts to increase the health service coverage through various initiatives of the Government that include strengthening of service delivery; quality assurance; RMNCH+A interventions; strengthening human resources and community processes; information and knowledge; drugs and diagnostics, and supply chain management, etc.

According to the SRS Bulletin, the gender gap in India for child survival is reducing steadily; the gender difference between female and male under-five mortality rates has now reduced to 11% which was as high as 17% in 2014.

The current under-five mortality for the male child is 37 per 1000, while for the female child is 41 per 1000 live births.

Amongst the bigger states, seven states (Chattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, MP, Odisha, Tamil Nadu Telangana) have reversed the gender gap in the survival of the female child, while four of these have reversed the gender gap for under-five survival. These are Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

Telangana, West Bengal, Odisha, Punjab and Delhi have depicted less than 5% gap in mortality of female child and are within striking distance to reverse the gender gap. The maximum gender gap in the survival of under-five for the female child is in Bihar (46% higher mortality for the female child), followed by Haryana (23%), Kerala (20%), Assam, Karnataka (19%) and Rajasthan (17%).

Further, the SRS Bulletin also shows that the neonatal mortality rate has reduced by 1 point from 25 per 1000 live births to 24 per 1000.

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HEALTHCARE

Government Approves Closure of Autonomous Healthcare Bodies

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Cabinet approves rationalization of Autonomous Bodies under Department of Health & Family Welfare

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for closure of Autonomous Bodies, namely, Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) and Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) and the functions are proposed to be vested in Department of Health & Family Welfare (DoHFW).

The rationalization of Autonomous Bodies under Department of Health & Family Welfare will involve inter-ministerial consultations and review of existing bye-laws of these bodies. The timeframe for implementation is one year,

Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) was set up as a registered society to provide financial medical assistance to poor patients receiving treatment in designated central government hospitals. An advance is placed with the Medical Superintendents of such hospitals who then provide assistance on a case to case basis.

Since the DoHFW provides funds to the hospitals, the grants can be given from the Department to the hospital directly. RAN functions can, therefore, be vested in DoHFW. Managing Committee of RAN Society will meet to dissolve the Autonomous Body (AB) as per provisions of Societies Registration Act, 1860 (SRA).

In addition to this, Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund (HMCPF) shall also be transferred to the Department. The timeline required for this is one year.

Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) was set up with a corpus grant of Rs.100 crores in the year 2003 to raise awareness for population stabilization strategies. JSK organizes various activities with target populations as a part of its mandate.

There has been no continuous funding to JSK from the Ministry. Population stabilization strategies require private and corporate funding, which can be accessed through JSK. Although JSK will continue to play a significant role in population stabilization strategies, its existence as an Autonomous Body is not necessary. Hence, JSK as an Autonomous Body can be closed as it can be administered by the Department as a fund.

Background:   

Based on the recommendations of Expenditure Management Commission, NITI Aayog had undertaken a review of the 19 Autonomous Bodies, under the DoHFW, that have been formed under Societies Registration Act, 1860 (SRA) and submitted the Interim Report of the Committee for the Review of ABs with recommendations to rationalize the same.

The main concern of the Government is that ABs are required to be reviewed and rationalised with a view to improving their outcomes, effectiveness and efficiency, utilisation of financial and human resources, synergy, governance and relevance in current policy and programme context, with improved monitoring and oversight. The Committee had recommended closure of RAN and JSK and their functions to be vested in the Ministry.

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