Recognizing the importance of Health in the process of economic and social development and for improving the quality of life of our citizens, the Government of India launched the National Rural Health Mission(Now NHM) improving the availability of and access to quality health care by people, especially for those residing in rural areas, the poor, women and children and to carry out necessary architectural correction in the basic health care deliver system. The Mission adopts a synergistic approach by relating health to determinants of good health viz. segments of nutrition, sanitation, hygiene and safe drinking water. The NHM also aim to revitalize local health traditions and mainstreaming of AYUSH (including manpower and drugs), to strengthen the Public Health System at all levels.
An important aspect of NHM is to know about the strengths of AYUSH Systems and promotion of the culture of cross referral.
NRHM was launched on 12th April, 2005 throughout the country with special focus on 18 states, including eight empowered action group (EAG) states, the North-Eastern States, Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
The entire concept of NHM revolves on two major planks one is flexible decentralized planning and second is ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist). ASHA is a health worker who acts as a mobilizer, facilitator and a link between existing health facilities and members of the community.
The objectives of the Mission
Reduction in child and maternal mortality
Universal access to public services for food and nutrition, sanitation and hygiene and universal access to public health care services with emphasis on services addressing women’s and children’s health and universal immunization
Prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, including locally endemic diseases
Access to integrated comprehensive primary health care
Population stabilization, gender and demographic balance
Revitalize local health traditions & mainstreaming of AYUSH
Promotion of healthy life styles
Before NHM, AYUSH systems are running parallel to the Modern Medicine. For a long time it was felt that doctors/practitioners of AYUSH can play an important role in the delivery of health services then it was planned to integrate AYUSH to National Health Care Delivery system and incorporate the AYUSH systems in National Health Policy to attain the Health for all and give people to have choice of treatment. These efforts also revitalize & mainstream the AYUSH systems under NHM.
Under NHM, AYUSH doctors and facilities are being co-located in PHCs, CHCs and District Hospitals. The guidelines to include AYUSH practitioners at all levels in NRHM including state Health Mission, District Mission and Rogi Kalyan Samitis have been issued. It is also intended to have total functional integration between the AYUSH dispensaries/hospitals add the health care facilities under the allopathic system so that the entire spectrum of treatment is made available to the rural poor at affordable costs.