Our Government under the unparalleled, dynamic and visionary leadership of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji is making relentless efforts to achieve its motto of ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’. ‘Sabka Sath’ envisages ‘Antyodaya’, where the empowering rays of opportunity reach the most deprived people i.e. the poor, marginalised and other vulnerable sections of the society. It is under this progressive leadership that I can proudly claim that the Health Ministry has been able to achieve several unmatched laurels in the three years since 2014 when our Government assumed power and a leadership role in the country.
Health and development are intertwined – healthy people generally have longer lives, and are more productive, enabling them to earn and save more, therefore contributing to the nation’s prosperity. Our Government realises the value of healthy citizens and has thereby made special sanctions for the same in the Union Budget 2017. With the push we have received whereby the allocation of the Ministry has been increased by nearly Rs. 10,000 cr, we have been working tirelessly to improve health care systems and services towards providing a better quality of care to people in sync with Government’s well-enunciated priority for ‘Antyodaya’- reaching out to the those who need it the most towards shaping a holistically productive and developed nation.
Children are rightly perceived to be the future of a country and same was highlighted in our Governments’ union budget wherein the Finance Minister clearly mentioned about sanctions towards bringing down infant mortality. In line with this, many of our core initiatives focus on protecting mothers and children. The life-cycle approach has been adopted as a guiding principle and programs are designed accordingly. The recently launched Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA), enunciating the vision of the Prime Minister, is aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality rates through safe pregnancies and safe deliveries. This national programme provides special antenatal care to pregnant women across the country in order to detect and prevent high risk pregnancies through free, fixed day assured, comprehensive and quality antenatal care to pregnant women on the 9th of every month. So far, over 3,200 private sector doctors have registered for the programme across States/UTs. More than 11,000 facilities provide PMSMA services across India and more than 33 lakh antenatal check-ups have been conducted. Delivery and post-natal care is covered through JSY and JSSK programs and in this continum we have added MAA (Mother’s Absolute Affection) as a nationwide programme launched in an attempt to bring undiluted focus on promotion breastfeeding and provision of counselling services for supporting breastfeeding.
There is also a renewed and sharper focus on total immunisation. Decades of evidence has shown that vaccines are among the most cost-effective public health interventions. To ensure all children in India have access to immunization services, the Health Ministry launched Mission Indradhanush (MI) in 2014 over and above its Universal Immunization Programme for covering the left outs and unreached. So far, more than 2.6 crore beneficiaries have been immunized. From 1% annual increase in full immunization, ‘Mission Indradhanush’ has contributed to 5-7% of annual expansion. Along with MI, the Government has introduced many new vaccines into the UIP, such as the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), Adult Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine (more than 3 crores of doses administered to adults in select districts), Rotavirus vaccine, Measles-Rubella (launched in February 2017, to reach out to 41 crore children) as well soon to be introduced, Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV). Other health programs such as Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF) and National Deworming Day (NDD) are designed to provide comprehensive care and counter other factors contributing to child mortality. While 6.5 crore children were reached and provided ORS packets including counselling for prevention and control of Diarrhoea under IDCF, NDD provided Albendazole to 29.8 crore children.
Our Prime Minister always emphasises on how important women are for the holistic development of the country, how the health of a woman is important for her own well-being and productivity as well as the health of her children. Therefore, we have launched Mission Parivar Vikas for intensifying family planning services and initiatives in the 145 High Fertility Districts in the 7 most populous states (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Assam), expanded the basket of contraceptive choices to include Injectable DMPA, Centchroman, and POP (Progesterone only Pills) and improved contraceptive packaging while launching a new holistic family planning media campaign. 10 lakh Post-Partum Intra Uterine Device (PPIUCD) insertions have been done so far.
Besides reproductive health, India bears the double burden of both communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs are being managed through National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) wherein 356 District NCD Clinics, 103 Cardiac Care Units, 71 Day Care Centres and 1,871 CHC-NCD Clinics for management of common NCDs have been established. This is supplemented by a massive awareness drive titled “Chalo Banayein Swasth Bharat”.
Our Government realises that the most vulnerable and the most needy not just require clinics and programs but relief for expensive treatment services as well. This has been taken care through provisions in the union budget for kidney diseases through the Pradhan Mantri Dialysis Programme, which provides dialysis services free of cost to the poor and vulnerable population in District Hospitals through PPP mode. Under this, every facility will have 6 dialysis machines . So far 1,069 Dialysis Units, 2,319 Dialysis Machines have been made operational and more than 1,00,000 patients have availed of the services with more than 11 lakhs dialysis sessions carried out. To manage the high Out Of Pocket Expenditure (OOPE) on medicines, at the State level, initiatives such as Free Drugs Service and Free Diagnostics Service Initiatives and Essential Drug List (EDL) have been rolled out under National Health Mission (NHM) to substantially reduce the high OOPE.
All these initiatives and programs have been launched and implemented through the overarching flagship program National Health Mission (NHM). Since inception, a total of over ₹ 1,57,000 Crore have been released under NHM (upto 15thFebruary 2017). With the stated fund and tireless efforts our country has achieved many targets and goals viz. India’s Under-5 Mortality Rate (U5MR) and Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) declined at a higher pace than global average. The percentage annual compound rate of decline in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) during the period of the Mission also accelerated from 2.1% to 4.5%. There has been a significant decline in Total Fertility Rate (TFR) – from 3.8 in 1990 to 2.9 in 2005 to 2.3 in the year 2014. India has been declared YAWS-free in April 2016, well before the global target year of 2020. We have been validated for Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination (MNTE) in May 2015, much ahead of the global target date of December, 2015. This was a monumental achievement after Polio eradication, possible through health systems strengthening including improvement of institutional delivery.
As the Government, guided by the aims and people-centric goals laid out by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji, is continuously supporting and encouraging the health ministry, we at our end are infused with renewed and enthusiastic vigour towards addressing inequities, through a special focus on inaccessible and difficult areas and poor performing districts. We are trying to serve everyone to achieve our goal of a healthier, more prosperous India.
(Jagat Prakash Nadda is an Indian politician. He is currently the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare and member of Rajya Sabha from Himachal Pradesh and Parliamentary Board Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party. Earlier, he was a Minister in Himachal Pradesh Government.)