NRHM fails in its goal in Kashmir: DAK

Srinagar: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today said that National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has failed in its goal to address the health needs of underserved rural areas in Kashmir.

President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said that the mission has failed to reach its target to take quality health care to doorstep of rural people.

NRHM was launched in 2005 to provide effective health care to rural residents with special focus on states like Jammu and Kashmir which have weak public health indicators and infrastructure.

The main aim of the mission was to provide equitable and affordable health care to rural population which forms 75% of the total population.

The purpose of the mission was decentralization and end disparities in health care.

The key goal of the mission was reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates by encouraging institutional deliveries but 51% of deliveries in rural areas are conducted outside hospitals by untrained people in unhygienic conditions which is responsible for high infant and maternal deaths.

Also lack of neonatal care in rural areas is responsible for high infant mortality.

One of the objectives of the mission was to improve sanitation and hygiene in rural areas but majority of rural deaths are due to infections.

The ultimate objective of the mission was to strengthen primary health care but, most often than not,  patients end up going to tertiary hospitals even for basic health care due to abysmal rural health.

Another initiative under NRHM was to provide free drugs and diagnostic services to lower out of pocket spending on health, but majority of rural poor have to sell their assets to meet their health needs.

Despite influx of huge money under NRHM to improve health care, there is no respite to rural poor.

The deficiencies in infrastructure and manpower in rural health facilities raises legitimate doubts regarding the functioning of NRHM in the state.

While the concept of mission is utopian, given the ground realities it has become a milch cow for many to siphon off funds leaving rural poor in lurch. 

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