Govt issues new National Health Policy

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The government has issued a new National Health Policy in
line with the right to health guaranteed by the constitution, list of functions
to be carried out by all three levels of government, relevant policies,
international commitments made by Nepal, challenges in health sector and
achievements made so far in relation to providing health services to citizens.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, the
new policy will substitute its 2014 counterpart. The constitution has
established health as the fundamental right of citizens. The policy aims to
maintain the achievements made in the control of communicable diseases, achieve
Sustainable Development Goals, reduce infant and maternity mortality rate, and
move towards controlling non-communicable diseases, better management of
medical emergency and ensuring quality health services to all citizens, including
senior citizens, physically and mentally disabled, single women, poor,
marginalised communities and communities at risk.

“The new policy was needed to deliver health services to all
citizens as per the federal set-up. This policy is based on the guiding
principles of free basic health services, equitable access to health services,
reform in health system consistent with the federal structure, use of
innovative technologies and quality health services, multi-sectoral partnership
and collaboration and health good governance to guarantee the fundamental
rights enshrined in the constitution,” the policy states.

vision of this policy is to enable all Nepali citizens to live a quality life
with good physical, mental, social and emotional health. “The objectives of the
policy will be to create an environment in which all citizens enjoy the right
to health; develop, expand and improve health service system in accordance with
the federal set-up; ensure quality standards of services to be provided from
all levels of health institutions; enhance health security; promote ayurvedic
and traditional medical practices, among others,” it states.

order to achieve the vision and objectives of this policy, the government will
develop and expand promotional, preventive, curative and diagnostic services
throughout the country; enhance government investment in health sector; make
private sector investment service-based; develop trained and skilled human
resources; make service providers accountable and responsible; ensure domestic
production of essential drugs; make the import, storage, supply, sale and price
determination of drugs scientific; adopt public health disaster preparedness;
develop integrated health system; promotion of nutrition; encourage research
and study; develop and expand oral, ENT and specialised health services to all
levels; increase life expectancy of citizens; and reduce infant and maternity

The policy has also identified key challenges to the health
sector. It said health services had yet to reach to the citizens from all
regions, strata, class and community as envisaged in the constitution.
Emergence of new communicable diseases and increase in non-communicable
diseases are posing a threat to public health and productivity of citizens.
Non-communicable diseases account for over 60 per deaths in the country, it
states. Growing incidents of natural disasters and road accidents are among the
key challenges to health sector.

to the policy, unplanned urbanisation, urban lifestyle and pollution have made
it difficult for the government to expand health services focusing on poor and
marginalised communities in urban areas.

from the himalayan times

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