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80% public health facilities in India fail to meet minimum standards

Nearly 80 percent of public health facilities in India fail to meet the minimum essential standards for infrastructure, manpower, equipment, or benchmarks set by the government. The findings are based on a survey conducted by the government, involving public health facilities across states and Union Territories under the National Health Mission (NHM). These facilities were required to provide details on infrastructure, availability of doctors, nurses, equipment, among other parameters.

Responding to these findings, the Union Health Ministry launched a dashboard on June 28. This dashboard aims to assist national, state, and district health facilities in promptly monitoring compliance with Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) and taking necessary actions to improve healthcare standards.

The survey covered more than two lakh public healthcare facilities, encompassing district hospitals, community health centres, primary health centres, and Ayushman Arogya Mandir (formerly sub-health centres) under NHM. Out of these, data from the dashboard indicates that 40,451 facilities submitted key statistics regarding their respective capacities and resources.

As per the report, only 8,089 public health facilities, constituting nearly 20 percent of the total surveyed, achieved a score of 80 percent or higher, meeting the criteria to qualify as IPHS compliant. These facilities were found to have adequate infrastructure, sufficient human resources, essential drugs, diagnostics, and equipment necessary to deliver required healthcare services effectively.

Report added that 17,190 of the participating facilities in the self-assessment exercise scored less than 50 percent, indicating significant deficiencies. Additionally, 15,172 facilities scored between 50 and 80 percent, reflecting moderate compliance with IPHS standards.

A senior government official stated that the Centre aims to achieve IPHS compliance for 70,000 health institutions within the first 100 days of the new government’s tenure. “The objective of this self-assessment initiative is to identify existing gaps and urge states/UTs to address them with full support from the Centre, thereby enhancing the quality of healthcare services provided to the public,” the official from the health ministry emphasised.

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