The Central Government team that reviewed the progress of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) programme has directed the state government to focus on the information- education- communication (IEC) system.
During its visit to the rural areas the members of the team were surprised to find that majority of the people were not aware about the programmes and facilities provided by the Health Department. “It seems that IEC has virtually collapsed in UP”, a member remarked.
The programmes including malaria, TB, kala azar, filarial, blindness and iodine deficiency control are being run since several decades still the rural folks are ignorant about the Health Department initiative to check these disease. The Central Government had released crore for the successful implementation of the programme under NRHM. “If the people do not know about the facilities how come they will avail it”, the members of the team said.
The five-members team led by Pravin Srivastava visited the rural areas of Allahabad and Kanpur to inspect the facilities provided in the government health centers and hospitals. The review mission team will submit its report to the state government within few days.
Talking to HT the members of the team expressed concern over the large vacancy of the doctors and para-medical staff. “We have directed the state government to fill up the vacant posts immediately. Under NRHM the health department has planned to construct sub centers in the villages. If we do not have expert hand to provide services to the patients then the money spent on the construction of the buildings would go waste”, they said.
Though the NRHM was launched in UP in 2005, but it got stuck in political and bureaucratic quagmire. Only after the Health and Family Welfare Ministry issued warning to the state government the things started moving. UP is far behind other states in comparison to the progress of NRHM.
NRHM aims at reduction of infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR). “If UP that had highest IMR (73/1000) lags behind we would not get the desired result”, the central government officials said.
There was some consolation for UP as the Central team appreciated the working of the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) in the villages. “The ASHA has come as a ray hope for the pregnant women and the infants. They are not only visiting the houses but also admitting the vulnerable mother in the hospitals”, a member of the team said.