Assam, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu do best in rural health

April 12th, 2010 - 7:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), India’s flagship rural health scheme, has completed five years, and states like Assam, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu are performing best, it was announced Monday.
Vice President Hamid Ansari said at a function here that through the NRHM, the central government is facilitating the leadership of state governments in setting public health priorities, emphasising human resource and governance reforms.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announced a change in focus and strategy in the NRHM with a view to adopting an “area-centric and area-specific approach to take healthcare to the doorsteps of people living in remote and underserved areas”.

Azad also asked states to identify difficult, most difficult and inaccessible areas so that additional monetary and human resource incentives could be provided to ensure availability of health workers in such areas.

Minister of State for Health Dinesh Trivedi said, “NRHM will grow strength to strength to achieve the national goals and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015″.

Lauding the effort of states, the central government also announced that Assam, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan are best performing states in improving rural health and bettering health indicators.

While Assam was adjudged best among the northeastern states, Rajasthan was adjudged the best performing state in the ‘high focus states’ category. Similarly, Tamil Nadu claimed the award in the ‘other states’ category. Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana were placed second in their respective categories.

During the event, Azad outlined the recent initiatives in increasing human resource that will add 10,000 additional postgraduate seats in medical colleges within next two years, out of which 4,000 seats have already been increased for the current academic year.

The minister said the central government is providing financial assistance for establishing 265 Graduate in Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) and Auxiliary Nursing Midwife (ANM) schools in those districts which are backward, remote and inaccessible or where there is not even a single GNM or ANM school.

This will add nearly 20,000 additional nursing manpower per year. At the same time, setting up nine regional institutes of excellence in the paramedical field will produce more than 10,000 additional paramedical personnel annually.

The health minister said under the NRHM, the maternal mortality rate has gone down to 254 from 301 for 100,000 live births. And the child mortality has dropped from 58 to 53.

However, the central government accepted that there is still a long way to go and a lot to achieve as many rural areas are still deprived of proper healthcare facilities.

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