The health status of the rural population requires improvement. However, the condition of the health services in rural India has improved after the launch of the flagship rural healthcare programme of the previous government, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
As per the National Health Profile, 2015, the number of beds in rural hospitals is 183,602 as against 492,177 beds in urban hospitals.
Public health being a State subject, the primary responsibility to provide healthcare facilities lies with the State governments. To address the healthcare challenges, particularly in rural areas, the NRHM was launched in 2005 by the UPA Government to supplement the efforts of the State governments to provide accessible, affordable and quality healthcare. The NRHM has now been subsumed under the National Health Mission (NHM) as its Sub-Mission, along with National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) as the other Sub-Mission. Support under NHM is provided to States and union territories for setting up new facilities or renovation of existing facilities, health human resource on contractual basis, drugs, equipment, diagnostics, ambulances, mobile medical units etc based on the requirement posed by the States and UTs in their Programme Implementation Plans (PIPs).
The government has already taken steps towards provision of free services for maternal health, child health, adolescent health, family planning, universal immunisation programme and for major diseases such as TB, vector borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and kala azar, leprosy etc. Other major initiatives for which states are being supported include Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK), Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK), Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK), implementation of National Health Mission Free Drugs Service Initiative and National Health Mission Free Diagnostics Service Initiative, Strengthening District Hospitals and implementation of National Quality Assurance Framework. To address health inequities, 184 high priority districts have been identified for enhanced fund allocation and focused attention.
The Government has formulated a draft National Health Policy 2015, which among others, recommends setting up of medical colleges in rural areas in addition to realigning pedagogy and curriculum to suit rural health needs.
This information was given by the Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, JP Nadda in the Rajya Sabha today.