The Joint Learning Network (JLN) India Country Core Group (CCG) convened for the first time this year in New Delhi, India on the 16th of February. India is one of the founding members of this innovative cross-country learning platform and 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 put to use in different states of India, such as Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
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 (GSHIS) programs and has vast experience and lessons to offer to other countries in their journey towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
With nothing more visionary a government can do than protecting families from falling to poverty, the timing of the India CCG convening comes at a crucial time. The Government of India is on the cusp of redesigning the largest government health insurance program in India, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY)—and perhaps the world in terms of population coverage—when the revamped scheme launches, as the government seeks to create a sustainable health system for the country. 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 from best practices from countries across the globe who are implementing health insurance and assurance programs.
The JLN CCG offers a promising efficient and structured platform to facilitate international cross-learning opportunities on the best practices and strategic communications key to technical components across the states of the India. The network provides dedicated funds to build technical capacity and support for global learning exchanges through the Joint Learning Fund. As a “full member” with CCG in place, this supplementary and flexible fund can be used by India for promoting and collaborating on technical innovations and enabling cross-learning activities across member countries. The CCG would want to make judicious and efficient use of these available and dedicated resources for significantly advancing the health systems strengthening reforms in India. (Learn more about CCGs)
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. Furthermore, the Indian CCG not only brings in international good practices, but also aims to use this platform to supplement the long-running World Bank-funded GSHIS Forum Series at the national level with practitioner-to-practitioner learning between states.
The meeting of the India CCG brought together representatives from the state health departments of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana and representatives from ACCESS Health International, GIZ and the World Bank. The group also includes representatives from other states such as Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha and Kerala. The India 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 the states with a global learning exchange platform on good practices in health. The India CCG will leverage the JLN and the World Bank funded-GSHIS Forum Series in technical capacity building at the global level, together with improving upon key technical components across India’s states, especially in the context of the ongoing collaborative reform process of RSBY at the national level.
The motivation of the India CCG to strengthen and deepen its engagement with the JLN comes at the backdrop of a period where globally UHC is being considered as an essential criterion towards a nation’s sustained development, with more and more governments adopting it as their national health priority. With sustained cross-learning between 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 geared to emerge as a dynamic country, ensuring dissemination of much needed knowledge and best practices, and promoting practitioner-to-practitioner learning at state, national and international levels.
From the Office of:
Dr. K Rajeswara Rao, IAS
Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Government of India