National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)

The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was launched by the Prime Minister on 12th April 2005, to provide accessible, affordable and quality health care to the rural population, especially the vulnerable groups. Under the NRHM, the Empowered Action Group (EAG) States as well as North Eastern States, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh have been given special focus to ensure greatest attention where needed. The thrust of the Mission is on establishing a fully functional, community owned, decentralized health delivery system with inter-sectoral convergence at all levels, to ensure simultaneous action on a wide range of determinants of health. Some of the major initiatives under NRHM are

a)ASHAs: More than 8.84 lakh community Health volunteers called Accredited Social. Health Activists (ASHAs) have been engaged under the mission for establishing a link between the community and the health system. ASHA is the first port of call for any health related demands of deprived sections of the population, especially women and children, who find it difficult to access health services in rural areas. ASHA programme is expanding across States and has particularly been successful in bringing people back to Public Health System and has increased the utilization of outpatient services, diagnostic facilities, institutional deliveries and inpatient care.

b)Rogi Kalyan Samiti (Patient Welfare Committee)/Hospital Management Society is a registered society that acts as a group of trustees to manage the affairs of the hospital. Financial assistance is provided to these Committees through united fund to undertake activities for patient welfare.

c)The United Grants to Sub-Centres has given a new confidence to ANMs in the field who are better equipped now with Blood Pressure measuring equipment, Stethoscope, weighing machine etc. They can actually undertake a proper antenatal care and other health care services. The village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committee (VHSNC) is an important tool of community empowerment at the grassroots level.

d)Health care service delivery requires intensive human resource inputs. As can be seen from various surveys, there is an enormous shortage of human resources in the public health care sector in the country. NRHM has attempted to fill the gaps in human resources by providing nearly 1.7 lakh for people for health services to States including 8,871 Doctor, 2025 Specialists, 76,643 ANMs, 41,609 Staff Nurse etc on contractual basis. Many unserved areas have been covered through Mobile Medical Units (MMU). So far 2024 MMU are operational in 459 districts across the country, Further, to provide free ambulance services in every nook and corner of the country connected with a toll free number and available within 30 minutes of the call, over 12,000 basic and emergency patient transport vehicles have been provided under NRHM.

e)As part of recent initiatives and further moving in the direction of universal healthcare, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK) was introduced last year to provide free to and fro transport, free drugs, free diagnostic, free blood, free diet to pregnant women who come for delivery in public health institutions and sick new-borns.

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