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A Step Towards Health Security

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Published: 20th Aug, 2020

A Step Towards Health Security
  • A healthy, happy and well-nourished citizenry is the prerequisite for a healthy nation.
  • The World Health Organization or WHO has defined global public health security as "the activities required, both proactive and reactive, to minimize the danger and impact of acute public health events that endanger people's health across geographical regions and international boundaries”.
  • National health security is fundamentally a weak link all around the world.
  • Disparities in the nation's capacities and a lack of attention by the leaders exacerbate the preparedness gaps towards the biological threats.
  • In India and in other countries too, the COVID19 pandemic has dredged up the issue of health security which denotes the protection of national populations from global pandemic threats.
  • It is imperative to understand that health security and human security are directly linked to each other; an unhealthy individual or society is likely to make the community insecure which in turn would impinge upon the national security.
  • Thus, all national governments need to prioritise and address the health security risks at the earliest. There is a need to curtail political and socioeconomic risk factors that can impede the actions/activities related to the management of outbreak including the conflict zones.
  • A public charitable trust - 'Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund' (PM CARES Fund)' has been created to address the issues relating to emergency/distress situations and calamities - be these manmade or natural.

Schemes for ensuring Health Security

  • Ayushman Bharat -Government India's flagship scheme recommended by the National Health Policy (NHP-2017) was launched to achieve the vision of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). It has been designed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its underlining commitment -'leave no one behind’.
    • It attempts to move from sectoral/segmented approach to a comprehensive need-based health care service delivery.
  • Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) to deliver Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC) bringing healthcare closer to the residence of masses. These centres cover both - maternal and child health services as well as non-communicable diseases; and provide free essential drugs/diagnostic services.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) is the world's largest health insurance/ assurance scheme fully financed by the government. It provides coverage of 5 lakh INR/ family/year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization across public and private empanel led hospitals in the country.
  • Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana-a relief package for the poor to help them fight against Corona Virus.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana promotes the use of LPG keeping in view its health benefits (particularly women/children), environmental safety and enhanced economic productivity of women.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan/National Nutrition Mission (NNM): It is the Prime Minister's overarching scheme for holistic nutrition, to improve nutritional outcomes of the children, pregnant women and nursing mothers.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana: This scheme provides cash incentives to pregnant women and nursing mothers to improve health outcomes of the mother and the new-born.
  • Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritav Abhiyan is conducted on the 9 lh of every month (like Pulse Polio Programmes); months, nearly 9.64 lakh Ante-Natal Check- ups have been conducted.
    • To ensure dignified motherhood, 317 labour rooms/operation theatres have been certified to provide quality services under LaQSHYA (Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative).
  • Maternity Benefit Amendment Act- Government's new maternity policy raises the duration of paid maternity leave for employees to 26 weeks so as to promote breast-feeding and infant care.
  • Mental Healthcare Act (2017) adopts a rights based statutory framework for mental health in India and strengthens equality and equity in providing mental healthcare services to protect the rights of people having mental health problems.
  • National AIDS Control Programme: National AIDS Control Organization vision is 'Paving the way for an AIDS free India' through attaining universal coverage of HIV prevention, treatment and care through continuum of services that effective, inclusive, equitable and adapted to needs'.
    • The goals remain the 'Three Zeros' - zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination - forming the basis of this strategic plan.
  • National Strategic Plan for tuberculosis elimination (2017-2025) proposes bold strategies with commensurate resources to rapidly curb TB in the country by 2030 in line with the global 'End TB targets' and SDGs to attain TB-free India. The four strategic pillars of TB elimination include "Detect - Treat - Prevent - Build" (DTPB).
    • NIKSHAY -the web based TB reporting has enabled to capture/ transfer individual patient data from remotest health centres in the country.
  • Elimination of Communicable diseases - Action plans to eliminate Leprosy by 2018, Measles by 2020 and Tuberculosis by 2025 are being implemented.
  • E-Health: Under the Digital India campaign, E-Health initiative was launched in July 2015 with the broad aim to provide effective, economical and timely healthcare services to all individuals; especially the ones with little access to healthcare services.
  • Affordable and Quality Health-Care for All (availability of cheaper medicines): The AMRIT (Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment) pharmacies provide drugs for cancer and cardiovascular diseases along with cardiac implants at a 60-90 percent discount.
  • National Organ Transplant Programme: Apex level National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) has been set-up for establishing country-wide network of transplant and retrieval hospitals and tissue banks.
  • National Vector Borne Disease Control Programmes is one of the most comprehensive and multi-faceted public health programmes in the country; and deals with the prevention and control of vector borne diseases namely Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya, Japanese Encephalitis (JE), Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), Kala-azar and Filariasis.


  • Safe, accessible, high quality, people-centered and integrated health service delivery systems are critical for attaining universal health coverage.
  • Health service delivery systems are responsible for not only taking care of the patients but also the individuals, families, communities and the populations in general.
  • Health service delivery systems should cover the entire spectrum of care from prevention/ promotion to diagnostic, rehabilitation and palliative care as well as all other levels of care including self-care, home-care, community- care primary-care, long-term care and hospital care so as to provide integrated health services throughout the life cycle.
  • Nutritionally adequate and well-balanced diet not only protects the individual against all forms of malnutrition but lays a sound foundation for good health and development.
  • To support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 2016- 2025 UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, WHO works with Member States and partners towards the goal of a world free from malnutrition.

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