9 Dec 2013

Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad addresses first Meeting of the Mission Steering Group of National Health Mission

Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad
The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad addressed the first Meeting of the Mission Steering Group of National Health Mission (NHM), here today.
Speaking at the occasion, Shri Azad stated that the launch of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has led to significant improvements in public health systems and health service delivery.

 He pointed out specifically the impressive progress on key priorities of NRHM including decline in maternal and child mortality as well as fertility rate; reduction in disease burden of TB and Malaria; focus on the emerging challenge of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension and cardio-vascular diseases; and completion of three years of being a Polio free country as on 13th of January 2014.

He emphasized that the success of NRHM encouraged the Central Government to extend coverage to urban areas through a National Urban Health Mission, covering 779 towns and cities. 
Shri Azad informed that the implementation framework for the National Health Mission, proposed in consultation with the Planning Commission, has been approved by the Cabinet. This framework puts in place new principles, strategies and approaches which are based on evidence and aimed at accelerating progress towards achieving the goals, he added.
Highlighting the several initiatives taken in the recent past by the Health Ministry under the Mission, Shri Azad said that more than 1.6 crore women are now delivering in Government and accredited facilities per year under ‘Janani Shishu SurakshaKaryakram’. Also, more than 1.5 crore children have already been screened under ‘Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram’ out of which over 7 lakh have received referral support including 1 lakh children receiving free treatment at secondary and tertiary level facilities.
The Health Minister expressed happiness that through a new initiative of the Ministry free essential medicines will be provided to all patients visiting public healthfacilities. Twenty eight States and UTs have articulated the policy to provide free drugs in public health facilities. States have provided about Rs.3,500 crores for free drugs during the current year and NRHM has supplemented the State’s efforts with about Rs. 2,000 crores, the Minister noted. NRHM gives incentives to the States if they move in the direction of providing free drugs, he further added. 
Expressing his concern Shri Azad said that limited availability of funds is a continuing challenge. India’s public spending on public health is the lowest in the world. Recognizing this, the 12th Plan lays emphasis on the need for augmenting resources for health.  However, the allocation to the Mission during the first two years of the 12th Plan is merely 18% of the promised outlay, he pointed out.
The Health Minister hoped that the Ministry of Finance and the Planning Commission, both of whom are represented on the MSG, would support raising allocations from the present level to what has been pledged in the 12th Plan. Also the representation of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Rural Development, Drinking Water & Sanitation, Human Resource Development and Housing &Urban Poverty Alleviation on the MSG is intended to intensify collaborative action on improving social determinants of health namely: Nutrition, Drinking water, Sanitation, Hygiene, Environment, Poverty and Girls education and empowerment.
The Mission Steering Group approved all the agenda points which included the following:
1.     Proposal for revision/new incentives related to Multi Drug Resistant TB
2.     Proposal for revision of incentives related to Drug Sensitive TB in tribal and difficult areas
3.     Proposal for new incentives related to TB-HIV co-infected patients
4.     Proposal for pooling of united grants, annual maintenance grant and RogiKalyan Samiti grants and revision of quantum of united grants to Community Health Centres or equivalent and District hospitals.
5.     Proposal for streamlining Asha incentives: The MSG approved an advance to be adjusted against the monthly performance so that ASHA is able to get reasonable amount of money every month. In addition, incentives of existing activities have been increased, and new activities for which ASHA would get incentives have been added.
6.     Proposal for provision of recurring cost for the first referral units (community health centres, maternity homes, etc.) under the National Urban Health Mission
7.     Proposal for expansion of Hib vaccines in the Universal Immunisation programme as liquid pentavalent vaccine (DPT+Hep B+Hib) in 11 states from October 2014 and remaining 16 states from April 2015
8.     Proposal for revision of formula for allocation of HRHM-RCH flexible pool funds
Present during the meeting were KumSheilja, Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Smt. Girija Vyas, Minister for Urban Development, Smt. KrishnaTirath, Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Santosh Chowdhury,MoS(Health) and Shri A H Khan ChowdhuryMoS (Health), Smt Syeda Hameed, Member, Planning Commission, in addition to Shri K N Desiraju, Health Secretary, ShriSanyalSecy (Aayush), Dr V M Katoch, DG, ICMR, Sh Sudhir BhargavaSecy(Social Justice and Empowerment) and many senior officers of the ministries of health, WCD, Social Justice and Empowerment. Members and representatives from NGOs and private practioners were also present.  

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