The Centre should develop strategies to ensure that people are not badly affected while accessing health services, the World Health Organisation said.

"There is a need in India that government develops mechanism to ensure that people do not become poor while accessing health services," WHO Universal Health Coverage, National Professional Officer Dr Chandrakant Lahariya said.

Speaking at the recently-concluded 44th national conference of the Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM) held here Dr Lahariya said, "There is global evidence to support that increased government funding reduces out of pocket expenditure by people. The government funding for health sector in India has the potential to be enhanced."

According to the WHO official, the Centre should play a major role and increase investment in the public health services, also covering disease surveillance.

"The union government has to play a major role and increase investment in public health services (including disease surveillance)," he said.

A balanced supply-demand intervention would help the country progress towards an Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the WHO official said.

"A balance supply side, i.e. provision of health services by government demand side (Social Health Insurance) interventions, in realistic and contextual manner, can increase accessibility and affordability of health services by people and help India progress towards UHC," Dr Lahariya stated.