Karnataka govt unveils State Health Policy, mandates prescription audit & antibiotic policy

Nandita Vijay, BengaluruTuesday, December 5, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Karnataka government has unveiled the State health policy. It was developed by the Karnataka Jnana Aayoga (KJA) established by the state government as an expert recommendatory body on innovation and knowledge activities. The policy highlights prescription audits at both private and public sectors needed to improve medication safety. It is also pressing for a state-wise antibiotic policy and infection control program, which is applicable both to public and private hospitals.
The KJA made a recommendation for the Karnataka Public Health Policy (KPHP) which was approved by the government. The Task Force for the Karnataka Public Health Policy was chaired by Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, chairman, Narayana Hrudayalaya.  

The key objective of the Karnataka Public Health Policy is to identify areas of interventions necessary to achieve the goals. It also called to evolve a time bound roadmap with periodic assessment evaluation and institution of necessary corrective measures. The Task Force has also insisted for the need to implement the evolved road map and set up a proper monitoring system to ensure the goals are achieved.
The policy proposes a comprehensive approach to address the health agenda in Karnataka. An inclusive and participatory approach is called for to ensure that all stakeholders in the health sector are involved in its development. The report is in two parts:. The first part contains the State Public Health Policy, with strategies to reach a high standard of healthcare and implementation framework required to achieve this standard. It outlines the role of each stakeholder in delivering the health agenda while taking into account the specific state machinery already in place. A monitoring and evaluation framework enables tracking of the program objectives. The state health policy will be implemented through a 10-year state integrated strategic plan with agreed targets that respond to the needs of essential health programmes and the population. A palliative care policy is already in place, and the KPME Act 2007 is being reviewed by a separate committee and does not come under the purview of the Task Force.
The second part contains the recommendations of the TF-KPHP subcommittees in twelve areas of intervention. It insists for high-quality, uniform, equitable and easily accessible public health service system to enable effective disease management, critical disease care, and preparedness for health emergencies for a healthy citizenry across the state. There is a need for technologically-advanced high-quality healthcare institutions for medical education and research for future needs with motivated and service-oriented health and medical professionals.
The policy states that pharmacovigilance and prescription auditing should be a part of the quality-training parameter.
The Task Force noted that health expenditure in the State has seen an increasing trend in the last 15 years. Although the total expenditure on health increased over the years, the proportion of health expenditure to the GSDP has decreased from 1.46 (2000-01) to 1.0 (2013-14) while the percentage of total State expenditure spent on health has remained stagnant.
A large part of the expenditure on healthcare continues to be out-of-pocket which takes place at the time of illness, thus imposing a huge burden on families. It is estimated that about 70% of per capita expenditure on health was incurred by households, while public sources covered only 23.2% of this expenditure. This puts an undue financial burden on the population leading to catastrophic health expenditures.