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Declining health indicators put question mark on delivery of NRHM in HP

By: ML Verma

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh government claims to be the best performer on the health front, but declining health indicators present a different picture of the state of health services, which is putting a question mark on the effectiveness of the system and outcome of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), a survey report has claimed.

Anup Kumar Srivastava and Anand Sharma, representatives of Human Rights Law Network, have released a critical analytical report on maternal and child health, family planning and other reproductive health services in the state. Indicating a grim picture of maternal and child health situation, the report on analysis of DLHS-3 data states that three quarters of households in HP are in rural areas, however health system catering to healthcare needs of people in rural HP are grossly sub-optimal. It says that living conditions in urban slums and rural HP exacerbate the vulnerabilities of poor to preventable diseases and causes of death.

The survey states that 44.3 percent households are living without toilet facility, and this figure is as high as 47.3 percent in rural households. Ironically, 24 percent households do not have access to safe drinking water and water facility to their dwellings. As a result, it is leading to water-borne diseases.

The survey report also shows alarming incidences of anemia among every group of people, which is 58.8 percent at the age group of 6 to 35 years, 41 per cent in age group of 15 to 49 years and 37 per cent among the pregnant woman in age group 14 to 49.

The grim social, economic and sexual vulnerability of women is compounding problems like anemia and death during pregnancies. The report states that 6.1 per cent of boys got married before the legal minimum age of 21 years and what is more shocking is that this figure has increased 1.3 percent during last five years. Moreover, child marriage of girls is more horrible as 9.1 percent women get marriage before age.

The report also slams the health authorities stating that the state government failed to implement CSS Scheme Janani Suraksha Yojna(JSY). Under this scheme, only about 5.9 percent women could get financial assistance in their delivery periods. The report raises doubt that there might be some deep-rooted conspiracy to malign the scheme to oversee the abandoning of the scheme.

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