ACCESS Health India: A Look Back on 2020 and Look Ahead To 2021

The year 2020 was a significant one for ACCESS Health India. It began with an important milestone: Policy research conducted as part of health system design to transform India’s health system figured prominently in a report —Health Systems for a New India: Building blocks – Potential Pathways to Reform — published by the Indian government’s policy think tank, NITI Aayog. ACCESS Health India also had an opportunity to work on supporting implementation of systems-level transformation in a population cluster of Al-Qassim in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Our work on digital health contributed significantly to the design of the India National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB) and led to the announcement of National Digital Health Mission to implement the standards-based interoperable health data blueprint across the country. Our technical support to state health authorities (SHAs) in implementing Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), the most ambitious public health insurance program covering nearly 500 million people continued despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

The year also witnessed the birth of InOrder, the institute for health systems strengthening. InOrder strengthens health systems to secure health. Designed around five subsystem schema, it is building five Centers of Excellence — Centers for Health Systems Governance, Healthcare Provider System, Health Payer System, Health Information System, and Public Health System — with five workstreams: research, capacity building, advisory and technical support, advocacy, and awareness. Leveraging the foundational work of ACCESSHealth in India, it will work towards realizing its vision, to be the thought leader in health systems and be the preferred knowledge partner to strengthen it. 

Taking a cue from Joint Learning Network (JLN), which ACCESS Health co-founded, ACCESS Health India is creating similar collaboratives to build national-level technical capacities in health systems. We became the founding secretariat of the India Health Systems Collaborative (IHSC) that brought together leading researchers in public health and health systems on to a single platform to generate evidence to guide health policy at national and state levels. We will deepen our capacity through partnerships and collaboratives in other areas.

2021 will witness the expansion of our works in the areas of universal health coverage, innovative financing, strategic purchasing, digital health, quality of care, integrated care, personalized healthcare, human resources for health, and leadership development. State of Telangana has offered us an opportunity to test various strategic interventions in organizing and strengthening healthcare provision to its 40 million people and transform it into a model healthcare system in the country.

Covid-19 has exposed fault lines in health systems across the world. As the world comes to grips in controlling it, we will leverage our expertise to strengthen fractured health systems in this year and coming years. We aim to deepen our capacity and become self-sufficient as we journey towards realizing our vision.