Healthcare is top priority of the government, but budgetary allocations do not support this claim. Do you think National Health Mission(NHM) has adequate funds for such a gigantic tasks?
I think budgetary allocations are adequate to meet the targets under NHM. Revised estimate for the current fiscal would be around Rs 20,000 crore. Earlier, it was Rs 18,000 crore. It is incorrect to believe that health sector’s allocations have been slashed for FY16. As far as resources are concerned, apart from budgetary allocations, our Minister has urged private sector to participate in rural health Mission as well. I hope with the support from private sector, we would able to provide better health care facilities to our rural populace.
What are major challenges and what is your main focus area?
Child mortality is very high in the country. This is the major challenge before us and our main focus on preventing preventable deaths through all possible measures especially through vaccination and immunization programmes. We are also focusing on system strengthening. Approval of four new vaccines namely rotavirus, Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), Measles-Rubella vaccine and extension Japanese Encephalitis vaccine to adults is a major achievement in this direction. Moreover, our ambitious immunization Mission Indradanush has now entered into fourth phase. The main aim of this programme to prevent deaths and in the first phase itself nearly 15 lakh children received full immunisation during Phase I. The Mission aims to 90 lakh unimmunised or partially immunised children by 2020.
What are other initiatives taken by the government in last one year?
During one year, the government launched India Newborn Action Plan, Mission Indradanush and observed National Deworming Day(NDD) & Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight. The NDD was observed for the first time in the country in 11 states on February 10 this year to intensify efforts towards control of Soil Transmitted Helminthes ( Intestinal worms) among children. Diarrhoea Control was observed with the aim of achieving ‘ Zero child deaths due to childhood diarrhoea.”
Other challenges include quality of services, availabily of essential drugs, diagonistic services and monitoring? What are being done in these areas?
We have taken a slew of measures to improve rural healthcare in the country. Last year in November, we rolled-out national quality assurance framework for health facilities. With this quality standards for Community Health Centres( CHCs) and Primary Health Centres( PHCs). The standards were set after two days of national consultation.To improve efficiency of over 2 lakh multi-purpose female workers, a Guidebook was prepared and disseminated among them.
Guidelines for free essential drugs initiative have been prepared along with model RFP/Tender Documents and would be issued shortly. Similarly National Free Essential Diagnostic Guidelines along with the Model RFPs for Public Private Partnership (PPP) have been prepared.
For effective and timely intervention, surveys are important. What is the status of Family Health Survey?
National Family Health Survey -IV Phase I was carried out across the country recently. Moreover, largest ever Nationwide Anti-TB drug resistance survey was launched. The survey includes 13 TB drugs and this survey is the biggest ever in the world and we expect results in a year’s time.