BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh stands at No-3 among the worst performers’ states on health parameters, according to the fourth Health Index launched by Niti Aayog. Uttar Pradesh tops the worst performers’ list followed by Bihar.
Kerala is at no-1 in terms of overall health performance among states while Tamil Nadu and Telangana have emerged as the second and third best performers, respectively, on health parameters. The fourth round of the Health Index took into account the period 2019-20 (reference year).
The poor ranking on the health index has proved that Madhya Pradesh continues to be the ‘Bimaru’ state, said the medical health experts, adding that the government needs to focus on strengthening Primary Health Centres (PHC) rather than stressing on improving the services at medical colleges and their associated hospitals.
Dr Anand Rai said that the government should take note of the health index and take necessary measures to improve the health infrastructure in the state. “State government never focused on strengthening primary health centres. Poor health services are a major concern at PHCs in Madhya Pradesh. The health infrastructure in rural areas is pathetic and medical services almost absent.”
Speaking on the same lines, Amulya Nidhi, public health expert, said, “MP is still ‘Bimaru’ in terms of health services. State government is trying to manage the health services through only Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal, and Medical College Indore. No work is being done at ground level to strengthen the health services at ground level at Primary Health Centers.”
Stating that people engaged in the government health sector were not remunerated properly for their services, Rai said that the pay scale of Asha-Usha workers was poor, while shortage of doctors in rural belt is one of the biggest challenges. The working condition at the primary health centres is also not conducive, while the doctors are not given accommodation, transport facilities while officials have a fleet of luxury vehicles.
As per the report, the health index is a weighted composite score incorporating 24 indicators covering key aspects of health performance. It said health index comprises select indicators in three domains -- health outcomes, governance and information, and key inputs and processes.
The report has been prepared in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) with technical assistance from the World Bank. The importance of this annual tool was re-emphasized by MoHFW's decision to link the index to incentives under the National Health Mission. This has been instrumental in shifting the focus from budget spending and inputs to outputs and outcomes.
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