India at 75: major health care policies and programs since independence


India is currently the second most populous country comprising over 15% of the world’s population. The country is developing at a rapid pace and has made many advances in the health sector, including an increase in life expectancy to over 70 years and a significant drop in infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate and the mortality rate. Since then, breaking free from the shackles of British rulers, diseases like polio, smallpox, Guinea worm and leprosy have been nearly eliminated from the country. Additionally, the country has achieved significant goals through increased penetration of health services, better immunization, growing literacy, and countless government and private sector initiatives. Over the years, the government has launched many health missions, five-year plans, and national health policies to provide various health care benefits and facilities to the citizens of the country. Here are some of the crucial health care policies and programs launched in India over the past 75 years:

National Leprosy Eradication Program (NLEP)

The National Leprosy Eradication Program (NLEP) is a central government sponsored health program and it has been implemented with the main objective of reducing the burden of disease, preventing disability and improve mass awareness of leprosy and its curability. It was launched in 1954-55. In 1983, the National Leprosy Eradication Program was launched as a continuation of the National Leprosy Control Programme. According to health experts, it is one of the largest leprosy eradication programs in the world. Under the NLEP, active case detection and routine surveillance under the Leprosy Case Detection Campaign (LCDC), ASHA-based surveillance of leprosy suspects (ABSULS), active case detection cases and regular surveillance (ACDRS) are conducted to interrupt transmission of the causative organism. Mycobacterium leprae. According to the NLEP, the number of leprosy cases in India has witnessed a significant decline.

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Pulse vaccination program against poliomyelitis

In 1995, following the World Health Organization’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative (1988), India launched the Pulse Polio Immunization Program along with the Universal Immunization Program which aimed for a 100% coverage. Under the programme, children in the age group of 0-5 years received polio drops annually during national and sub-national immunization rounds (in high-risk areas). Around 172 million children are vaccinated on each National Immunization Day (NID). According to Ministry of Health data, the latest polio case in the country was reported from Howrah district of West Bengal with the onset date as 13th January 2011. Subsequently, no polio case has been reported in the country. On February 24, 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission and received the organization’s “polio-free certification”. Nations Health Committee on March 27, 2014. India’s achievement in eradicating the disease from its regions has been applauded by health experts across the world.

National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)

According to health experts, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) have made significant achievements. Launched in 2005, the mission provides accessible, affordable and quality health care to the rural population, especially vulnerable groups. According to the guidelines, the basic objectives for the implementation of NRHM are: Reduction of infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate; Ensure the stabilization of the population; Prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases; and AYUSH (Ayurvedic unani siddh and homeopathic yoga) upgrade for the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. This is one of the programs that has placed a strong emphasis on improving maternal and child health through direct access. According to public health experts, this mission has played a central role in creating new institutions, decentralizing services and bringing new ideas and resources to the health system.

Introducing the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA)

Under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) of India, community health workers known as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) are employed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from the country. According to the government, the idea behind ASHA was to connect marginalized communities to the health care system. Earlier this year, the one million ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers, who are at the forefront of healthcare delivery in India, were awarded the Global Health Leaders Award-2022 during the 75th World Health Assembly. The global health agency has applauded workers’ efforts to connect the community to government health programs. These workers are mainly married, widowed or divorced women between the ages of 25 and 45 from the community. Apart from mother and child care, these workers also provide medicine to TB patients on a daily basis under the national program treatment scheme. Additionally, they are also responsible for screening for infections like malaria during the season. These workers also provide basic medicines and therapies to people under their jurisdiction, such as oral rehydration solution, chloroquine for malaria, iron and folic acid tablets to prevent anemia, and birth control pills. It should be noted that these ASHA workers have played a crucial role in the government’s response to the pandemic.

National Health Protection Mission (Ayushman Bharat Yojana/Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana—PMJAY)

Launched in 2018, Ayushman Bharat is a nationwide health protection scheme, which will cover over 10 million poor and vulnerable families (about 50 million beneficiaries) offering coverage up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for the hospitalization in secondary and tertiary care. Ayushman Bharat – The national health protection mission will encompass the ongoing centrally sponsored schemes – Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Elderly Persons Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS). It would be the largest government-funded healthcare program in the world. Meanwhile, PM-JAY aims to provide annual cashless health insurance coverage worth Rs 5 lakh per family, to cover 1,300 illnesses. The cover includes all costs related to treatment in approved public and private hospitals, including hospitalization costs, up to 3 days before hospitalization and 15 days of costs after hospitalization. Earlier this month, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said a total of 1.5 lakh Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centers will be available to serve the people here. the end of December.


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