KKC tells govt to spend more on drugs

 A high-level committee on public health set up under the Karnataka Knowledge Commission (KKC) has sought doubling of government expenditure on drugs to provide universal access to free medicines in Karnataka.

The committee, headed by public health expert Ravi Narayan from the Society for Community Health Awareness, Research and Action, and Sita Lakshmi Chinnappa from Indian Council of Medical Research, submitted a report to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Monday.

The public spending on drugs should be scaled up from the present six per cent to at least 15 per cent of the overall government expenditure on healthcare, the report stated. It stressed the need for an efficient medicine supply system on a centralised procurement and decentralised distribution model.

The panel also suggested that the government come out with an ‘urban primary health policy’ for the poor and the marginalised.

A special group be set up to promote major public health initiatives, focusing on emerging non-communicable diseases, chronic illnesses and epidemics, and an integrated AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy) and public health mission, it suggested.

The KCC held its final meeting under the chairmanship of Planning Commission member K Kasturirangan. Seventeen out of 89 recommendations submitted by the KKC  have been implemented.

Tenure of the Commission, set up in 2008, will end in February. Commission Executive Director M K Sridhar said the commission conducted 10 research studies, took up 11 pilot projects, 31 publications and set up 32 expert committees with 199 experts as members, during the last 52 months.

‘Higher Education - Vision 2020’ and ‘Karnataka GIS: A knowledge initiative in support of governance, sustainable development and citizen empowerment’ were the other reports released on Monday.

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