Meghalaya Cabinet approves State Health Policy

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, March 6: In a significant decision, the State Cabinet on Friday approved its first state health policy named MOTHER policy (measurable outcomes transforming health sector through a holistic approach with a focus on women’s empowerment).

Health being a state subject, the state did not have a health policy of its own but with the approval of this policy the state will now have its own health policy in place. Meghalaya is the first state to have materialised a state health policy during the Covid-19 pandemic period.

The state health policy aligns with the draft National Health Bill, 2009, National Health Policy 2017 (NHP, 2017) and the National Public Health Act, 2018 (draft) while including provisions that have been tailored to the state’s unique context. The policy is bringing out a three-dimensional positive healthcare model focusing on preventive, curative and enabling aspects.

  1. The policy envisions rights-based framework in providing health care for citizens, especially for the poor and marginalized.

iii. It also lays special emphasis on last-mile delivery through a decentralized catalytic leadership model by actively involving all the stakeholders representing concerned departments at PHC/CHC level.

  1. The policy also focuses on the use of artificial intelligence and technology for providing healthcare with greater precision.
  2. The policy also focuses on the importance of early childhood through a dedicated early childhood development mission which will address the issues of malnutrition, micronutrient deficiency, stunting and cognitive development of children to nurture and develop productive future generation.

The policy will focus on having a dedicated human resource policy for health, work in a decentralized manner while also ensuring women leadership and participation at the community level. It will facilitate and encourage community participation, address the demand and supply sides of healthcare and make a conscious effort to shift from curative to preventive and primary healthcare.

Data reveals that Meghalaya’s life expectancy (62.3 years) is lower than the National Average of 68.8 years. The policy articulates clear goals for improving all health indicators in the next 5-10 years. This includes increasing the life expectancy to over 70 years and to reduce the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (MMR) while also reducing premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and other diseases.

The State will set up a State Public Health Authority (SPHA) to oversee the implementation of this policy.

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