An Exercise in Health Advocacy: Training on Health Budget

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The Health Financing and Budget Planning Meeting was organized by the India Working Group for Health Advocacy (IWG) in collaboration with the High Commission of Canada on 13th February 2020 at the High Commission of Canada, New Delhi. The meeting was organised to capacitate health champions identified on HIV, TB, and Malaria on the issues related to health financing to advocate for the increase in domestic health resources in their respective states. This training focused on the importance of advocacy with the government to increase domestic resource allocation for health.

The meeting started with Professor Indrani Gupta, Institute of Economic Growth briefing the representatives on the role of government and its interventions in the health sector as well as an overview of the current status of health financing in India. She pointed out that the inefficient public health infrastructure in the country is the reason for the high dependence on the private health sector, which remains unregulated. Dr. Gupta suggested that representatives chart out three clear recommendations before meeting the Health Secretary as a way of meaningfully engaging with domestic health financing processes.

The next session by Gayatri Maan and Prachi Mishra from PRS Legislative Research focused on health expenditure and the health budget of India. Some of the opportunities for advocacy discussed during this session included connecting with standing committee members while they debated over budgetary issues on health as well as engaging with MPs who can champion a specific health cause, especially at the state level.

In the concluding session of the day Sonal Mehta, Regional Director, IPPF SARO and Abhina Aher, Associate Director, Sexuality Gender and Rights, Alliance India encouraged the Health Champions to prepare individual work plans for state and national level advocacy for the strengthening of domestic health financing in India. The champions developed the advocacy plan and planned to engage in various advocacy activities through India Working Group till June 2020.

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