Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

[pib] Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ayushman Bharat

Mains level : Importance of Public Health Surveillance

NITI Aayog today released a white paper: Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance (PHS) in India.

Q.Discuss the role of Public Health Surveillance in the success of Ayushman Bharat Abhiyan.

Vision 2035 for PHS

  • It is a continuation of the work on health systems strengthening.
  • It contributes by suggesting mainstreaming of surveillance by making individual electronic health records the basis for surveillance.
  • Public health surveillance (PHS) is an important function that cuts across primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of care. Surveillance is ‘Information for Action’.

Let’s have a look at the executive summary of the vision document:

PHS in India

  • Surveillance is an important Public Health function.
  • It is an essential action for disease detection, prevention, and control. Surveillance is ‘Information for Action’.

Why need PHS?

  • Multiple disease outbreaks have prompted India to proactively respond with prevention and control measures. These actions are based on information from public health surveillance.
  • India was able to achieve many successes in the past. Smallpox was eradicated and polio was eliminated.
  • India has been able to reduce HIV incidence and deaths and advance and accelerate TB elimination efforts.
  • These successes are a result of effective community-based, facility-based, and health system-based surveillance.
  • The COVID19 pandemic has further challenged the country. India rapidly ramped up its diagnostic capabilities and aligned its digital technology expertise.
  • This ensured that there was a comprehensive tracking of the pandemic.

Highlights of the vision document

  • It builds on initiatives such as the Integrated Health Information Platform of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program.
  • It aligns with the citizen-centricity highlighted in the National Health Policy 2017 and the National Digital Health Blueprint.
  • It encourages the use of mobile and digital platforms and point of care devices and diagnostics for amalgamation of data capture and analyses.
  • It highlights the importance of capitalizing on initiatives such as the Clinical Establishments Act to enhance private sector involvement in surveillance.
  • It points out the importance of a cohesive and coordinated effort of apex institutions including the National Centre for Disease Control, the ICMR, and others.

Gap areas in India’s PHS that could be addressed

  • India can create a skilled and strong health workforce dedicated to surveillance activities.
  • Non-communicable disease, reproductive and child health, occupational and environmental health and injury could be integrated into public health surveillance.
  • Morbidity data from health information systems could be merged with mortality data from vital statistics registration.
  • An amalgamation of plant, animal, and environmental surveillance in a One-Health approach.
  • PHS could be integrated within India’s three-tiered health system.
  • Citizen-centric and community-based surveillance, and use of point of care devices and self-care diagnostics could be enhanced.
  • To establish linkages across the three-tiered health system, referral networks could be expanded for diagnoses and care.

Moving ahead

  • Establish a governance framework that is inclusive of political, policy, technical, and managerial leadership at the national and state level.
  • Identify broad disease categories that will be included under PHS.
  • Enhance surveillance of non-communicable diseases and conditions in a step-wise manner.
  • Prioritize diseases that can be targeted for elimination as a public health problem, regularly.
  • Improve core support functions, core functions, and system attributes for surveillance at all levels; national, state, district, and block.
  • Establish mechanisms to streamline data sharing, capture, analysis, and dissemination for action.
  • Encourage innovations at every step-in surveillance activity.

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