The Alma Ata Conference, held in 1978 urged all governments and
world leaders to protect and promote health by adopting Primary Health Care
approach. Since then this strategy has been recognised as the key to achieve
Health for All.
In 1990 the World Summit for Children was held in New York wherein world leaders signed a Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children and a Plan of Action It contained a set of goals to be achieved by 2000. These goals were related to reduction of maternal and infant mortality, child malnutrition, illiteracy and targeted increase in the access to basic services for health and family planning, education, water and sanitation.
Subsequently, during the Millennium Summit in 2000, 189 countries around the world agreed on a set of actions and targets related to health and development contained in the form of the Millennium Declaration.
The MDGs are:
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
India’s Progress Towards Millennium Development Goals
India has a high commitment to the Millennium Declaration as it
was signed by the then Prime Minister of India at the Millennium Summit in 2000.
It is supported by the elaborate planning process in India, which has always been meticulous in laying down goals and strategies for all sectors. Eleventh and Twelfth Plan have seen a slight increase in financial allocation to the health sector, arresting the earlier downward trend. Both plans have laid down specified health targets within the overarching framework of inclusive growth. These Plans address these challenges through a mix of resource allocation, incentives for institutional reform of the delivery system, and public-private partnerships. To reduce the regional disparities the Government of India has identified 250 districts lagging in development, for which a Backward Regions Grant Fund provides financial support for district planning and program implementation.
National Health Policy and National Population Policy provide direction to achieve the three health-related Goals under MDGs.
In order to bring in health sector reforms, increase financial allocation for health from 0.9% to 2-3 % and improving the health infrastructure and service delivery systems with the aim of reducing IMR, MMR and TFR to achieve the country’s goals, National Rural Health Mission was launched in 2005. There is a renewed focus on intersectoral co-ordination with related sectors like education, nutrition, water, and sanitation. Concerns regarding equity, gender universalization of affordable health services are a prime thrust of the NRHM which subsumes all health programs.
A major task for the country is the improvement of service delivery and capacity development at district and local levels, in order to implement and monitor a large number of programs. The success will also depend on the reduction of regional disparities and access to vulnerable groups such as women, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and religious minorities) to basic services.
GOAL 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
As per the latest available progress chart (2009), the poverty rates and the hunger deficits are still unacceptably high and there continues to be a Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, with an annual allocation of $2.5 billion, guarantees 100 days of work to every household.
GOAL 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, launched in the year 2000, is a national program to make elementary education accessible to all. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is Government of India’s flagship program for the achievement of Universalisation of Elementary Education(UEE) in a time bound manner, as mandated by 86th amendment to the Constitution of India, making free and compulsory education to the children of 6-14 years age group, a Fundamental Right.
GOAL 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Various programs for Schemes by University Grants Commission
provide for grants to women’s university for teaching courses, construction of
women’s hostels and setting up women study centers in 34 universities.
GOAL 4: Reduce Child Mortality Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) and Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) are the two main programs in India aimed at reduction of infant and child mortality Globally, 8.8 million children under five, died in the year 2008 and India alone accounted for 21% of these deaths.
GOAL 5: Improve Maternal Health
The Government of India has launched the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in 2005 with the aim of decreasing the MMR, IMR, and TFR. Under the NRHM, RCH Programme is specifically directed to the reduction in infant and maternal mortality. The Janani Suraksha Yojana, under NRHM, envisages promoting institutional deliveries through the provision of cash incentives.
GOAL 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases
The National Health Policy (NHP) sets out a number of goals to address HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases. NHP aims to reduce mortality by 50% on account of TB, malaria, other vector and water-borne diseases, and to achieve zero level growth of HIV AIDS.