Policy Matter

Addressing the Problems of Rural Health

The health status of the population, especially that of rural population, does require improvement. However, the condition of the health services in rural areas of the country has improved after the launch of the National Rural Health Mission.

As per the National Health Profile, 2015, the number of beds in rural hospitals is 183602 as against 492177 beds in urban hospitals.JananiShishuSurakshaKaryakram

Public health being a State subject, the primary responsibility to provide health care facilities lies with the State Governments. To address the healthcare challenges, particularly in rural areas, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was launched in 2005 to supplement the efforts of the State/UT governments to provide accessible, affordable and quality healthcare. The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has now been subsumed under the National Health Mission (NHM) as its Sub-Mission, along with National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) as the other Sub-Mission.Support under NHM is provided to State/UTs for setting up new facilities or renovation of existing facilities, health human resource on contractual basis, drugs, equipment, diagnostics, Ambulances, Mobile Medical Units etc based on the requirement posed by the States/UTs in their Programme Implementation Plans (PIPs).

The government has already taken steps towards provision of free services for maternal health, child health, adolescent health, family planning, universal immunization programme, and for major diseases such as TB, vector borne diseases such as Malaria, dengue and Kala Azar, leprosy etc. Other major initiatives for which states are being supported include JananiShishuSurakshaKaryakram (JSSK), RashtriyaBalSwasthyaKaryakram (RBSK), RashtriyaKishorSwasthyaKaryakram (RKSK), implementation of National Health Mission Free Drugs Service Initiative and National Health Mission Free Diagnostics Service Initiative, Strengthening District Hospitals and implementation of National Quality Assurance Framework. To address health inequities, 184 High Priority Districts have been identified for enhanced fund allocation and focused attention.

The Government has formulated a draft National Health Policy 2015, which among others, recommends setting up of medical colleges in rural areas in addition to realigning pedagogy and curriculum to suit rural health needs.

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