Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

[op-ed snap] On rural India’s health systems: the health checklist


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Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Q.) “Equity in access to doctors, diagnostics and medicines for rural India must be a priority.” Examine.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Problems and solutions related to Indian Rural Health Sector.



  1. The article presents a brief picture of Rural Health Sector in India

Some proofs of Bad Health Sector in India

  1. Recently happened crisis at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur
  2. The CAG’s report on reproductive and child health under the National Rural Health Mission for the year ended March 2016
  3. In Uttar Pradesh, the CAG found that about 50% of the primary health centres (PHCs) did not have a doctor, while 13 States had significant levels of vacancies

Main Issues

  1. Government’s inability to absorb the funds allocated
  2. Shortage of staff at primary health centres (PHCs)
  3. Community health centres (CHCs) and district hospitals
  4. lack of essential medicines
  5. broken-down equipment and unfilled doctor vacancies

Government’s Efforts

  1. The Centre has set ambitious health goals for 2020
  2. And is in the process of deciding the financial outlay for various targets under the National Health Mission
  3. The goals also includes reduction of the infant mortality rate to 30 per 1,000 live births, from the recent estimate of 40

What we need to achieve health goals?

  1. This will require sustained investment and monitoring
  2. We also need access to a health facility with required medical and nursing resources within a 3-km radius, from every individual
  3. Our disease surveillance system needs to be strengthened in both community and hospital settings, to provide reliable real-time data
  4. Periodic quality audits must include technical, administrative and social audits
  5. To make this happen, we need to invest in training and deploying professionals in public health management at different levels of the system

The Way Forward

  1.  Government doctors must be well paid but barred from private practice
  2. Giving access of doctors, diagnostics and medicines to the rural population has to be a priority for the National Health Mission
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