The Meghalaya cabinet today approved the Meghalaya State Health Policy, cabinet minister James Sangma informed.
“A lot of consultations, discussions, suggestions and views of the stakeholders have taken place and finally the Health Department has been able to come up the state health policy,” Sangma said.
Data reveals that Meghalaya’s life expectancy (62.3 years) is lower than the national average (68.8 years). The policy articulates goals to improve all health indicators in the next five to 10 years. This includes increasing 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 also set up a State Public Health Authority (SPHA) to oversee the implementation of this policy.
Sangma said that the policy will set up a broad framework to provide essential public health services and functions, including powers to respond to public health emergencies, principally through the state and local public health agencies at the village, block and district levels in collaboration with other public and private healthcare providers.
Sangma also informed that the policy aims to put special focus on high MMR and IMR, birth spacing, tuberculosis, non-communicable diseases and address the high prevalence of cancer.
The health policy will also focus on early childhood by launching the Early Childhood Development Mission, which will address issues of malnutrition, micro-nutrient deficiencies and stunting.
“The policy ensures adequate investment in health and to increase health expenditure. It will also discuss private and government investment and aims to expand the services of the Megha Health Insurance Scheme,” Sangma said.