ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Health of the National Rural Health Mission

The National Rural Health Mission was introduced as a flagship scheme of the United Progressive Alliance government in 2005-06 to address the needs of the rural population through an architectural correction of the health system. With the completion period drawing to a close in 2012, this paper critically evaluates the success of the intervention strategies under this scheme. Based on rapid appraisal surveys in selected districts, three common review missions by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and data reported on the nrhm website, this paper attempts a desk review of the progress of the mission with respect to its core strategies - provisioning of health services to households through accredited social health activists, strengthening rural public health facilities, enhancing capacity of panchayats to control and manage provisioning of health services and positioning of an effective health management information system.

january 22, 2011 vol xlvi no 4 T he Alma-Ata Declaration in 1978 called on all governments to “formulate national policies, strategies and plans of action to launch and sustain primary health care as part of a comprehensive national health system”. In India, however, health has traditionally received low priority in the central and state budgets. Expenditure on the health sector comprised, for instance, less than 1% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 1999 – one of the lowest in the world. Further, there was a considerable urban bias characterising health policies and investment strategies – about 75% of the resources and infrastructure were concentrated in urban India (Patil et al 2002). The resultant increase in the incidence of both communicable and non-communicable diseases, coupled with poor health facilities in rural areas r esulted in high infant, child and maternal mortality rates.

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