The government is committed to provide accessible, affordable, equality, quality healthcare to the people. Active and passive surveillance of communicable and non-communicable diseases are done on a priority basis in Gujarat to ensure early detection of diseases, says Dr Gaurav Dahiya, Mission Director, National Health Mission, in conversation with Gopi Krishna Arora of Elets News Network (ENN).
What is your strategy to deliver preventive, curative and rehabilitative public health services to the rural as well as urban population?
The government is committed to provide accessible, affordable, equality, quality healthcare to the people. The National Health Mission is supporting National Health Programmes like TB Control, NVBDCP (Nation Vector Born Disease Control Programme), NPCB (National Programme for Blindness Control), Leprosy, IDSP (Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme), MCH (Maternal and Child health) as a part of Information Education Communication (IEC). Doing monitoring and evaluation of all programmes are also done for urban and rural population.
Your role is to supervise the implementation of all the schemes which generally fall under three broad categories — maternal and child health, communicable and non-communicable diseases — in a time bound manner, how do you manage to do this?
The mother and child health programme is monitored through output and outcome indicator. Capacity building is reducing the disease burden of communicable as well as non-communicable diseases in a big way.
Apart from clean drinking water and sanitation, which other major components impact public health majorly?
Information Education Communication (IEC) to reduce the communicable and noncommunicable disease burden and focus on the lifestyle changes and healthy behaviour are part of our activity. Active and passive surveillance of communicable and non-communicable diseases are done on a priority basis to ensure early detection of diseases and early response.
What are the challenges involved in ensuring equitable access for all citizens to affordable, accountable and appropriate, assured quality health services?
Improvement in health index is the main challenge for NHM and the Government of Gujarat is committed to providing affordable access to health services by strengthening human resource, infrastructure and quality. We have identified high priority talukas and districts, where we give more focused attention.
There are many programmes being run by you such as immunisation, population stabilisation, reducing infant mortality and maternal mortality ratio, where do you utilise the funds most?
All programme are interlinked. So funds are utilised appropriately in each programme. Ultimately, it is reproductive Maternal Neonatal Child Health and Adolescent Basket that matter the most.
What are the major initiatives taken up by the State government to improve healthcare infrastructure, especially in rural areas?
The focus of the government initiatives is to strengthen peripheral health infrastructure as per rural health statics and recruiting human resource in these areas, along with provision of special incentives including free drugs and diagnostics.
What are the Government’s priorities under the NHM for the coming year?
Malnutrition elimination and noncommunicable disease screening are the main areas of concern for National Health Mission in Gujarat.
Public Private Partnerships (PPP) offer an opportunity to tap the material, human and managerial resources of the private sector for public good, what are the challenges and opportunities involved in PPP model for health domain?
In the healthcare delivery sector, the State has a good experience. There is an opportunity to tap well spread private organisations and NGOs in offering services like Emergency services of 108, MMU and MHU. However, reaching the remotest areas for providing healthcare services remains a big challange.
There must be substantial expansion and strengthening of the public sector healthcare system if we are to meet the health needs of rural as well as urban areas, what is your take on this?
We are gradually improving our infrastructure, human resource and health facilitities close to population.
Quality of healthcare services in both the public and private sector is a serious concern, many practitioners in the private sector are actually not qualified doctors, how do you observe this?
We are taking corrective major actions according to the law.
In India, the percentage of population covered under health insurance is small and also the purchase of medicines is mostly not covered in insurance schemes. In this case, affordability of healthcare becomes a serious concern for the vast majority of the population, how your department plans to tackle this?
Affordability of healthcare services has increased in the State through implementation of MA and MA Vatsalya Yojana that covered Below Poverty Line families having Rs 1.5 lakh annual income. RSBY is also supporting this cause.
Tell us about the health management information system (HMIS) application software and other such IT initiatives taken up to improve healthcare systems?
HMIS software is provided by the Government of India for monitoring and evaluation of health programmes on periodical basis. E-MAMATA is a state innovation for taking care of mother and child services.
Trained and competent human capital is the foundation of an effective health system, what is your opinion on this issue?
The State is committed to develop public health cadre and has already started appointing Additional Director level officials to Taluka Health Officers having degrees like Master in Public Health, Master in Preventive Medicine and Diploma in Public Health, etc.