“NHM will focus on devolution, decentralization and timely responsiveness to enhance the reach and effectiveness of the health programmes under the National Health Mission.” This was stated by J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare as he inaugurated the 3rd meeting of the Mission Steering Group of the National Health Mission (NHM), here today. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs and Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman of Niti Aayog were also present.
Enumerating the many achievements under the NHM, the Union Health Minister stated that there have been several notable accomplishments such as the expansion in full immunization coverage through Mission Indradhanush, which is almost 5% increase in one year compared to the earlier rate of about just 1%; introduction of newer vaccines with launch of IPV and Rotavirus vaccine recently in the country’s UIP; increase in institutional deliveries and in the basket of contraceptives; capacity building of states through health systems strengthening approach which has benefited many programmes at the grass roots level; Kayakalp through emphasis on practices and protocols for enhancing sanitation and cleanliness in all government health facilities; new initiatives in the TB progamme such as induction of 600 CBNAAT machines and launching of Bedaquiline, a new anti-TB drug for Drug Resistant TB at six referral sites; and recent announcements under the Budget such as the Health Protection scheme and free Dialysis centres in all districts.
Venkaiah Naidu mentioned about the initiatives being taken by the Urban Development Ministry towards healthy living through the Smart Cities, which will have well defined protocols for waste management, drinking water and sanitation and cleanliness. He stated the quality of services provided in all public health institutions should be uniform and should attract the public. He also suggested that field health workers should be engaged as motivators for behavior change among the communities. City Livelihood Center (CLC) could be used as effective platforms to improve the outreach of the National Health Mission.
The MSG of the NHM discussed various agenda points including enhancement of reach, outlay and facilities within components of the NHM; immunization; capacity building of health workers; national blindness control programme; leprosy programme; and the NUHM.
Many suggestions were also made by the non-official members of the MSG such as taking up daily regimen at one go across the country for TB, increasing the basket of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) strengthening and synergizing surveillance with introduction of vaccines.
The Health Minister stated that the meeting offered a valuable and useful platform for candid discussion on several issues, and a wider perspective from a wide section of experts which will enable to enhance quality and effictiveness of the NHM. He further added that the suggestions would be taken into consideration to guide the roadmap on interventions to be taken up.
Secretary (HFW) B P Sharma; C K Mishra, AS & MD (NHM) and other senior officers of the health Ministry were also present at the meeting. Representatives from Ministries of AYUSH, Tribal Affairs, WCD, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, Urban development, Department of Higher Education, Social Justice and Empowerment were also present at the meeting, along with members from the civil society and other experts in the field of healthcare.