The JLN and India
India’s health sector
The Indian health system has rapidly evolved over the years, implementing successful health innovation models. It has developed robust information technology systems within its government-sponsored health insurance programs and has vast experience and lessons to offer to other countries in their journey toward UHC.
The government of India is on the cusp of redesigning the largest government health insurance program in India – and perhaps the world in terms of population coverage – called Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. The program aims to create a sustainable health care system for the country’s vast vulnerable and informal sector population to mitigate financial risks due to disability, health shocks, maternity and old age. In parallel, many states in the country are implementing their own state health insurance programs. This signifies a strong need for greater coordination, convergence and mutual learning within the country, as well as for best practices from countries across the globe.
Engaging with the JLN
India, one of the founding members of the JLN, has engaged proactively over the years in various technical discussions, co-developed knowledge products and participated in technical capacity-building events. Some of the JLN knowledge products have been used in Indian states, such as Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
India’s CCG offers an efficient and structured platform to facilitate international cross-learning on the best practices and strategic communications key to technical components across Indian states. The JLN also provides dedicated support to India as a full member through the Joint Learning Fund to build technical capacity and participate in global learning exchanges. This supplementary and flexible fund can be used by JLN full members to promote and collaborate on technical innovations and enable cross-learning activities across member countries.
The India CCG
The India CCG has begun to work closely with states to identify learning needs and technical focus areas that can be addressed through the JLN. In February 2017, India’s CCG convened a meeting to gather representatives from the state health departments of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, along with JLN partners. Several other states were included, as well. The CCG shared the range of technical initiatives, events and knowledge products available under the JLN and how India has benefited and contributed to the JLN since its inception. The participants concurred that the JLN will provide India and its states with a global learning exchange platform on good practices in health.
The India CCG plans to leverage the JLN for practitioner-to-practitioner learning between states and supplement the long-running
World Bank-funded GSHIS Forum Series at the national level.
Looking forward with the JLN
The motivation of the India CCG to strengthen and deepen its engagement with the JLN comes at a time when, globally, UHC is considered an essential criterion toward a nation’s sustained development, with more and more governments adopting it as their national health priority. With sustained cross-learning among the states of India through the local and global knowledge learning platforms and continued support from development partners, network coordinators, technical partners and the CCG members, India is poised to emerge as a dynamic country. This will ensure dissemination of much-needed knowledge and best practices, and promote practitioner-to-practitioner learning at the state, national and international levels.
Contributed by: The Office of K. Rajeswara Rao, Former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India