Private participation helping NRHM

Raju Das
SHILLONG, May 26 – Private organisations’ management of Public Health Centre (PHC) is helping Meghalaya government to better implement the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

The management has transformed the stereotypical foul-smelling PHC into pleasant health institutions. “Some of the PHCs are even better than private hospitals. The patients’ wards are very tidy with new beds, clean bed sheets, curtains, freash flowers and a professional staff working 24x7,” Arnold S Nongbri, State Programme Manager, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), told The Assam Tribune.

Due to better quality of service, some of the objectives under NRHM like reducing Maternal Mortality Rate, Infant Mortality Ratio and Malaria Mortality Reduction Rate are being met quite successfully.

This has been made possible, Nongbri said, after the government entered into a Public Private Partnership mode with NGOs in 2009. “Seven NGOs have signed Memorandum of Understandings with the government and are running the PHCs in different districts of Meghalaya under a three year contract,” Nongbri added.

The seven NGOs include – Karuna Trust (Bangalore), Citizen’s Foundation (Jharkhand), Akhil Bhartiya (New Delhi), NESPIM (Assam) and local NGOs, Voluntary Health Association of Meghalaya, Jaintia Hills Development Society and Bakdil.

For example in Garo Hills, all the five PHCs run by Bakdil have shown a healthy increase of Institutional delivery of child, child immunisation programmes have also increased while Malaria cases are being treated with great success.

“Earlier pre and post natal care was virtually absent. Most expectant mothers preferred to deliver their children at home contributing to the state’s high infant mortality rate,” he said, adding, the negative trend is now slowly reversing.

In Babadam, Salmanpara, Gabil, Wageasi and Siju PHCs in East and West Garo Hills, institutional delivery during 2009-10 was 322, which increased to 562 during from 2010-11. Moreover, there were a total of 1362 cases of child immunisation in 2009-10 and 1643 cases in 2010-11.

“Before 2009, there were hardly any institutional deliveries in these PHCs. The child immunisation programmes carried out by these institutions was also negligible. People are now spreading the message how good these PHCs are and taking their services,” the programme manager said.