Food security essential for success of NHRM

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Agartala, Sep 16 (UNI) West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar have demanded to ensure food security for the poorer sections to achieve success of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

Addressing a meeting of the National Pilot Programme on Control of Micronutrient Malnutrition here today, representatives from different parts of the country raised the issue of food security and suggested to bring it under the NRHM project.

Talking to UNI, Tripura Health Minister Tapan Chakraborty, Jharkhand Health Minister Bhanupratap Shai and Bihar Health Minister Chandra Mohan stressed the need of food security to control micronutritional deficiency among the poor.

They said Tripura, Jharkhand and Bihar had the maximum number of poverty stricken families in the country.

The Centre had launched the ambitious NRHM project in 18 states of the country to boost health care for rural population with special focus on weak public health indicators and poor health infrastructure.

Besides Tripura, the NRHM had originally targetted Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarth, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, Orissa, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. With the project, the Centre increased public spending on health from 0.9 per cent to 2-3 per cent of the GDP, they stated.

The ministers underlined that the thrust of the mission was on establishing a fully functional, community owned, decentralised health delivery system with inter-sectoral convergence at all levels to ensure simultaneous action on wide range of determinants of health like water, sanitation, education, nutrition, social and gender equality. However, this goal could not be achieved unless food security was assured.

Institutional integration within the fragmented health sector was expected to provide a focus on outcomes, measured against Indian Public Health Standards for all health facilities. The NRHM would shift the focus to a functional health system at the grassroots level, Director General of Health Services Dr R K Srivastava said.

He said more than ten lakh 'Monthly Health Days' had been organised at Anganwadi centres, where immunisation and availability of basic medicines under the NRHM in rural areas of the state would be available, an official report on the health status of Tripura, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarth stated.

Orissa had been using the Monthly Health Days for malaria chaemophylaxis in the malaria-affected areas while Village Health and Sanitation Committees had been focusing public health measures, Dr Srivastava pointed out.

Stressing on the need for awareness among the people about the mission, he cited the Peoples' Rural Health Watch groups set up by the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan in eight States, to monitor the mission's progress.

The mission's goals included reduction of Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) by 50 per cent and prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

However, the concerned departments often worked in isolation, Dr Srivastava observed urging the government to strengthen the public health centres to ensure round-the-clock services for regular supply of essential drugs.

UNI

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