India Country Core Group Meeting participants at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi.
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 founder members of this innovative cross-country learning platform and has engaged pro-actively 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 and, has developed robust information technology systems within its Government Sponsored Health Insurance (GSHIS) programs with vast experience and lessons to offer to other countries in their journey towards Universal Health Coverage. 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, where the Government of India is on the cusp of redesigning the largest government health insurance program in India (RSBY), and perhaps the world in terms of population coverage when the revamped scheme launches - as 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 across the globe who are implementing health insurance and assurance programs.
The JLN CCG offers a very promising efficient and structured platform to facilitate international cross learning opportunities of best practices and strategic communications on key 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. 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.
The India CCG has begun to work closely with States to identify learning needs and technical focus areas that can be addressed through this global platform. Furthermore, the Indian CCG not only brings 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 to provide a practitioner to practitioner learning platform between states.
This 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 learned about the range of technical initiatives, events, and knowledge products available under the Joint Learning Network 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 the states especially in the context of the ongoing reform process of RSBY at the national level collaboratively.
The motivation of the India CCG to strengthen and deepen its engagement with the JLN Network comes at the backdrop of a period where globally UHC is being considered as an essential element 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 country core group members, India will 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 forums.