National Rural Health Mission
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The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) is an initiative undertaken by the government of India to address the health needs of underserved rural areas. Founded in April 2005 by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the NRHM was initially tasked with addressing the health needs of 18 states that had been identified as having weak public health indicators.
Under the NRHM, the Empowered Action Group (EAG) States as well as North Eastern States, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh have been given special focus. The thrust of the mission is on establishing a fully functional, community owned, decentralized health delivery system with inter-sectoral convergence at all levels, to ensure simultaneous action on a wide range of determinants of health such as water, sanitation, education, nutrition, social and gender equality. Institutional integration within the fragmented health sector was expected to provide a focus on outcomes, measured against Indian Public Health Standards for all health facilities.
As per the 12th Plan document of the Planning Commission, the flagship programme of NRHM will be strengthened under the umbrella of National Health Mission. The focus on covering rural areas and rural population will continue along with up scaling of NRHM to include non-communicable diseases and expanding health coverage to urban areas. Accordingly, the Union Cabinet, in May 2013, has approved the launch of National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) as a sub-mission of an overarching National Health Mission (NHM), with National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) being the other sub-mission of the National Health Mission.
Some of the major initiatives under National Health Mission (NHM) are as follows:
- Accredited Social Health Activists
Community Health volunteers called Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) have been engaged under the mission for establishing a link between the community and the health system. ASHA is the first port of call for any health related demands of deprived sections of the population, especially women and children, who find it difficult to access health services in rural areas. ASHA Programme is expanding across States and has particularly been successful in bringing people back to Public Health System and has increased the utilization of outpatient services, diagnostic facilities, institutional deliveries and inpatient care.
- Rogi Kalyan Samiti (Patient Welfare Committee) / Hospital Management Society
The Rogi Kalyan Samiti (Patient Welfare Committee) / Hospital Management Society is a management structure that acts as a group of trustees for the hospitals to manage the affairs of the hospital. Financial assistance is provided to these Committees through untied fund to undertake activities for patient welfare.
- Untied Grants to Sub-Centres
Untied Grants to Sub-Centers have been used to fund grass-root improvements in health care. Some examples include:
- Improved efficacy of ANMs[clarification needed] in the field that can now undertake better antenatal care and other health care services.
- Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees (VHSNC) have used untied grants to increase their involvement in their local communities to address the needs of poor households and children.
- Health care contractors
NRHM has provided health care contractors to underserved areas, and has been involved in training to expand the skill set of doctors at strategically located facilities identified by the states. Similarly, due importance is given to capacity building of nursing staff and auxiliary workers such as ANMs. NHM also supports co-location of AYUSH services in Health facilities such as PHCs, CHCs and District Hospitals.
- Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY)
JSY aims to reduce maternal mortality among pregnant women by encouraging them to deliver in government health facilities. Under the scheme cash assistance is provided to eligible pregnant women for giving birth in a government health facility. Large scale demand side financing under the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) has brought poor households to public sector health facilities on a scale never witnessed before.
- National Mobile Medical Units (NMMUs)
Many un-served areas have been covered through National Mobile Medical Units (NMMUs).
- National Ambulance Services
Free ambulance services are provided in every nook and corner of the country connected with a toll free number and reaches within 30 minutes of the call.
- Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakarm (JSSK)
As part of recent initiatives and further moving in the direction of universal healthcare, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakarm (JSSK) was introduced to provide free to and fro transport, free drugs, free diagnostic, free blood, free diet to pregnant women who come for delivery in public health institutions and sick infants up to one year.
- Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK)
A Child Health Screening and Early Intervention Services has been launched in February 2013 to screen diseases specific to childhood, developmental delays, disabilities, birth defects and deficiencies. The initiative will cover about 27 crore children between 0–18 years of age and also provide free treatment including surgery for health problems diagnosed under this initiative.
- Mother and Child Health Wings (MCH Wings)
With a focus to reduce maternal and child mortality, dedicated Mother and Child Health Wings with 100/50/30 bed capacity have been sanctioned in high case load district hospitals and CHCs which would create additional beds for mothers and children.
- Free Drugs and Free Diagnostic Service
A new initiative is launched under the National Health Mission to provide Free Drugs Service and Free Diagnostic Service with a motive to lower the out of pocket expenditure on health.
- District Hospital and Knowledge Center (DHKC)
As a new initiative District Hospitals are being strengthened to provide Multi-specialty health care including dialysis care, intensive cardiac care, cancer treatment, mental illness, emergency medical and trauma care etc. These hospitals would act as the knowledge support for clinical care in facilities below it through a tele-medicine center located in the district headquarters and also developed as centers for training of paramedics and nurses.
- National Iron+ Initiative
The National Iron+ Initiative is an attempt to look at Iron Deficiency Anaemia in which beneficiaries will receive iron and folic acid supplementation irrespective of their Iron/Hb status. This initiative will bring together existing programmes (IFA supplementation for: pregnant and lactating women and; children in the age group of 6–60 months) and introduce new age groups.