NRHM completes five years, rural health still in disarray

April 11th, 2010 - 11:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) The flagship National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has completed five years of operation and has achieved several targets but its main objective to put the rural health system in place needs a lot more attention, according to health ministry data.
The NRHM was launched by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in April 2005.

While both maternal and infant mortality rates have come down to an extent - the former from 304 to 254 per a lakh live births and the latter from 66 to 53 per a lakh live births - the undernourishment in the country has remained almost unchanged. In India, about 46 percent of kids are stunted.

One of the key achievement of the NRHM is a visible growth in the field of institutional delivery, which means now more and more women are going to hospital for giving birth to babies and availing expert guidance, data indicates.

However, the situation in primary health care centres remains grim with nearly 150,000 of them not having a single doctor, according to the data. The shortage of doctors in rural areas has pushed poor people to avail private medical services.

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has already admitted that in India, rural health needs a lot more attention and the government spending of just one percent of the GDP on health is too less.

“We need to increase public spending,” Azad said at a recent function. He also said that 80 percent of the medical human resource is serving just 20 percent of the people, mainly those who are living in cities and towns.

The health ministry is holding a conference Monday to commemorate five years of the NRHM and Vice President Hamid Ansari will be the guest of honour.

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