National Health Mission

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08 min read

Ever since COVID-19 has gripped the world, the emphasis on health has hit unprecedented levels. Given the current state of affairs amidst the pandemic, to be in full health and in the comfort of one’s home is a privilege in itself. In a country with a population as large and diverse as that of India, the existence of a robust system for healthcare is absolutely crucial for timely intervention and tackling of health-related issues.

Introduction to National Health Mission

The National Health Mission came into force in 2006, launched by the Government of India. At the time of its launch, the main objective of the National Health Mission was to tackle India’s malnutrition crisis.

However, the overall objective of the National Health Mission is to ensure that everyone gets easy access to affordable health care of great quality and also to be able to tackle communicable as well as non-communicable diseases. The following two missions come under the National Health Mission:

  • National Rural Health Mission
  • National Urban Health Mission

National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)

The National Rural Health Mission was introduced with the objective of providing affordable and quality health care to the rural inhabitants. The idea behind this program is to have an independent, robust health care system that is decentralised and essentially community-owned. The focus was mainly on the Empowered Action Group States, with Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and the North Eastern States also given a special focus.

National Level

A Mission Steering Group (MSG) has been set up to oversee all the activities and ensure that the programmes are in line with the objectives. The MSG is headed by the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare. Moreover, a committee by the name Empowered Power Committee (EPC) is also set up and shall carry out its functions under the purview of the MSG. This EPC will be headed by the Union Secretary for Health and Family Welfare.

State Level

The Chief Minister of the State would function as the head of the State Health Mission, which would provide guidance on how the Mission is implemented at a state level. It is the State Health Society that would ensure that the functions of the State Health Mission are carried on in a smooth and efficient manner.

National Urban Health Mission (NUHM)

The focus of the National Urban Health Mission is particularly focused on the health-centric needs of the less fortunate people in urban areas, especially ones that cannot afford proper medical care and attention. The aim of the NUHM is to ensure that the poor in the urban areas are allowed affordable health facilities and necessary medical attention as and when needed. 

Basic necessities such as drinking water, sanitation facilities as well as sanitary living conditions are some of the primary target activities, especially for families that reside in slum areas and areas that are deprived of basic water and sanitary facilities.

One of the important objectives of the NUHM is to improve upon the existing healthcare system, to ensure that it operates at a level that is independent and decentralised while providing health facilities at affordable rates to all citizens.

ParticularsFunding Pattern (Centre-State)
North Eastern States including Sikkim and other special category states ( J & K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand)90:10
All Other States75:25

Initiatives Under National Health Mission

There are various initiatives that have been launched under the NHM:-

ASHAs

Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) refer to the women who are trained to be community health activists. The ASHAs are trained to function as a bridge between the community and the healthcare system. They are accountable to the community since they are selected from the community itself. The ASHA scheme is present and working in 33 states, except the state of Goa.

In rural areas, for every village with a population of 1000, there is one ASHA as their representative. However, in urban areas, the general norm that has been reserved is one ASHA for every population of 2500-5000 people.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Rural Areas
    • A resident of the village (Married/Widowed/Divorced)
    • 25-45 years of age
    • Literate at least up to Class 10
  • Urban Areas
    • A woman resident of a slum/vulnerable cluster (belong to the slum identified by the City/District Health Society)
    • 25-45 years of age
    • Married/Widowed/Divorced/Separated
    • Effective language and communication skills
    • Family and social support so that her work can be carried on effectively.

Rogi Kalyan Samitis (RKS)

Rogi Kalyan Samiti also goes by the name of Hospital Management Committee. It is a registered society, acting as trustees for the hospitals and are present to manage the affairs of the hospitals. It includes members who belong to Panchayat Raj Institutions, local elected representatives, NGOs and Government sector officials. The RKS utilises funds based on its best judgment so as to uphold the quality of services.

Activities of RKS

  • Acquisition of furniture, equipment and other necessary facilities for the smooth function of the hospital.
  • Regular maintenance as well as improvements to be made to the quality of service as well as facilities offered by the hospital.
  • Upgrading and improving the boarding facilities offered by the hospital to its patients.
  • Encouraging and adopting environmentally friendly methods with regard to the day to day management of the hospital, including solar lighting systems as well as solid waste management and segregation.
  • Leasing out vacant land for commercial purposes in order to build a more financially favourable position for society.
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