The Elders concluded a visit to India by commending the country’s leaders at national and state level for a series of ambitious health reforms which have the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Acting Chair of The Elders, former Prime Minister of Norway and Director-General of the World Health Organization, visited Delhi and Gujarat together with Ban Ki-moon, Elder and former Secretary-General of the United Nations.
They enjoyed constructive discussions with Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda and NITI Aayog Vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar and his senior officials to learn more about the Pradhan Ayushman Bharat health reforms announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that will be launched on 25 September.
The Elders welcomed the ambitions of these reforms and encouraged all stakeholders to ensure they are implemented effectively, with a particular emphasis on securing 65 percent of public financing on health for primary health care services.
At a state level, the Elders visited a “Mohalla” neighbourhood clinic in Delhi with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendra Jain and expressed their admiration for the scheme and its positive impact on the health of poor and vulnerable populations.
In Gujarat, they met Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Health Minister Nitinbhai Patel and senior officials, and visited an impressive Health and Wellness Centre near Ahmedabad to hear directly from medical staff.
In all their meetings, the Elders reiterated the four key messages of their new report on Universal Health Coverage in India:
Increase public financing for health to 2.5% of GDP by 2021
Focus on reaching full population coverage and prioritising the needs of the poor and vulnerable
Focus additional resources on primary healthcare services including vital public health services
Guarantee universal access to free essential medicines and diagnostic services
The Elders urged leaders at every level in Indian society to work together and forge a cross-party consensus to deliver lasting, equitable health reforms that will improve the lives of their people for generations to come.