8, March 2010
By Mahendra Kumar Singh
New Delhi, India
With an ambitious target to ensure health facilities for the country’s poor, the government is expected to launch a unified healthcare programme – the National Health Mission (NHM) – with a budgetary support of around Rs 15,000 crore.
The new flagship scheme will be framed by merging UPA–1 flagship venture – National Rural Health mission (NRHM) – and the yet–to–belaunched National Urban Health Mission (NUHM).
According to sources, the new programme will focus on strengthening the entire public healthcare system – primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities – to cater to both urban and rural poor across the country.
“The new proposal for merging both the schemes aims at getting rid of multiplicity of central schemes catering to the same sector,” said a senior health ministry official.
To make way for the comprehensive health scheme for the entire country, the government is likely to shelve the proposal for the launch of NUHM, which was conceived in UPA’s previous tenure.
On the funding of the unified mission, sources pointed out that the NRHM formula will continue. “Under the new health mission, which will be a centrally–sponsored scheme, 100% central assistance will be provided for fiscal 2010–11,” said an official. He, however, added that the central help would be brought down to 85% in 2011–12 (the last year of the 11th five–year Plan). Most likely, the central support would be cut down to 75% in the 12th Plan (2012–17).
Despite the launch of NRHM, the argument for NUHM was that presently the pressure on urban hospitals is because of non–availability of health facilities and doctors in rural areas. The urban mission was being framed to provide accessible, affordable and reliable primary healthcare facilities to the 28 crore people living in urban slums in 429 cities and towns.
The Planning Commission and the health ministry are of the view that by consolidating the two schemes, the government can address the needs of public healthcare facilities for the vulnerable in a better way.
- The National Health Mission is expected to be a unified healthcare programme with a budgetary support of around Rs 15,000 crore
- The new programme will focus on strengthening the entire public healthcare system to cater to both urban and rural poor across the country
- Under the new health mission, which will be a centrally–sponsored scheme, 100% central assistance will be provided for fiscal 2010–11