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Nepalese Health Care Sector by 2030: Forces That Will Shape the Future

The growth of health sector in Nepal over the past two decades have surpassed previous growths over a similar duration. Government commitment of access to health care, the emergence of private sector and the expansion of educational initiatives in health sciences have fueled this progress and will continue to do so in coming decades.

Concurrently, it is of paramount importance that the concerns of quality, equity and access should dominate the discourse on health. It is also equally important to develop policies and programs that can harness the hitherto untapped resources of diaspora community, utilization of the information-technology sector, and innovations in the modalities of partnerships and collaboration between different stakeholders. I firmly believe that the future will see more evidence-based policies and practices. Furthermore, rigorous research will be an integral part of the health sector and system.

The general approach to health services that have conventionally been focused in the areas of infectious diseases, maternal and child health will also see a major shift because the burden of diseases are changing dramatically. Non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, mental health, etc., will emerge as the leading disease problems. The existing manpower and the system is not capable of handling this emerging epidemic under current scenario. If we can redesign the health systems and innovate in the approaches to deal with these diseases by including inherent components of prevention, evidence-based management, and integrated follow-up, then Nepal can really shine in the international platform just as it did in the progress concerning millennium development goals.

Such an initiative needs a paradigm shift in the way health systems are structured. Broader involvement of other development sectors, e.g., media and communication, trade and commerce, education, environment, is indispensable in this pursuit. Ensuring such multi-sectoral involvement for dealing with emerging challenges will need renewed emphasis on the science of implementation in teaching and training. This will be the major difference to the current pedagogical realm that puts little emphasis on implementation efforts. I am optimistic that the new generation will be aware about these contemporary opportunities and challenges and will be capable of steering the future towards the right direction.

Dr. Ram KM Shrestha
Vice-Chancellor, Kathmandu University
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