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India to increase public health spending

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, Dec 12 - India is set to increase its public health spending to 2.5 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday, asserting that women, children and the youth will continue to remain at the heart of every policy, programme and initiative of the government.

Addressing the 2018 Partners� Forum here, Modi said the high out-of-pocket expenditure incurred by families to avail medical care in India worried his government and to address the issue, it launched the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, which has a two-fold strategy.

The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana provides cashless health insurance cover up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year, covering 500 million poor citizens.

�This number is almost equal to the population of Canada, Mexico and the US taken together. We have already provided free treatment worth Rs 700 crore to 5 lakh families under this scheme within 10 weeks of its launch,� Modi said.

The other arm of Ayushman Bharat, Modi said, is the provision of providing comprehensive primary care at a facility near the community, for which the Centre will start 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres by 2022.

The community will also be able to receive free screening and care for common diseases including hyper-tension, diabetes and three common cancers � of breast, cervix and oral. The patients will receive free medicines and diagnostic support close to their homes, he said.

At the event, Modi said the government is set to increase its spending on public health to 2.5 per cent of the GDP.

As of now, the country spends 1.15 per cent of the GDP on health. � PTI

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