Dr Harsh Vardhan moots health clearance for major projects

Harsh VardhanNew Delhi (ISJ) ? Indian Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Thursday (June 05) mooted the idea of ?Health Clearances? on the lines of Environmental Clearances for major policy initiatives, which could have an impact on healthcare. Dr Harsh Vardhan said, ?others will disturb the health of the society, but it is our (Health Ministry?s) responsibility to check it.?

?In all the departments of the government of India, there has to be some sort of sub-departments of health, whereby every policy they make, has to have some sort of a clearance or endorsement from the health department,? said Dr. Vardhan. However, the minister did not clarify, if it is a loud thought, or his ministry is mulling over such a proposal. He was talking at a seminar on ?Impact of Environment on Health?.

According to estimates by World Health Organisation environmental risk factors play a role in more than 80% of the disease regularly reported by it. In children, it is slightly over one-third of the disease burden. Diseases with the largest absolute burden attributable to modifiable environmental factors includes diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, unintentional injuries and malaria.

Inadequate sanitation cost India almost USD 54 billion or 6.4 % of the country?s GDP. Over 70% of this economic impact or about USD 38.5 billion was health-related, with diarrhoea followed by acute lower respiratory infections accounting for 12% of the health-related impacts.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, since 80% of the health problems are preventable, the focus of the new government?s health policy would be ?preventive healthcare?. He said, healthcare should become a social movement.

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