Poor health indicators plague Naxal-hit districts in UP and Chhattisgarh

To help tackle the Maoist menace,the Centre is pumping money into the affected areas under various welfare schemes.

Written by Tarannum Manjul | Lucknow | Published:August 20, 2010 3:58 am

To help tackle the Maoist menace,the Centre is pumping money into the affected areas under various welfare schemes. But the ground reality in Naxal belts of Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh puts a question mark on the penetration of its health initiatives.

Development key indicator statistics show that institutional deliveries in these districts ¿ with a rural populace of over 80 per cent ¿ are less that 15 per cent.

Also,the number of community health centres (CHC) and primary health centres (PHC) are quite low.

In Sonbhadra district ¿ marked by the Union home ministry as one of the worst Naxal-hit districts — 81.2 per cent of over 14 lakh population is rural. But it has only five Community Health Centres (CHC) and 33 Primary Health Centres (PHC). The institutional delivery rate is 21.4 per cent — below the state average of 24.5 per cent.

Chhattisgarh,which has half-a-dozen affected districts,presents a similar picture.

Dantewada — one of the the worst-hit districts ¿ has a population of over 7 lakh of whom 92.8 per cent are rural. With 10 CHCs and 36 PHCs,Dantewada manages only 18.5 per cent institutional deliveries.

Similar is the case of Surguja,another affected district: 93 per cent of its over 19 lakh population is rural. It has 18 CHCs and 77 PHCs and an institutional delivery rate of only 16.7 per cent.

These findings of Delhi-based social organisation Population Foundation India (PFI) are based on surveys like District Level Health Survey 2008,Sample Research Survey 2008 and the National Family Health Survey III. They have been recorded in the PFI report on Population,Health and Social Development in UP,MP,Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand and saw experts from all four states deliberating on the issue in Lucknow over the last two days.

Incidentally,UP only saw participation of NGO representatives. The government officials preferred to remain absent even though officials from all others states made presentations.

AR Nanda,the executive director of PFI,said there is a huge gap in communication and action between state and districts for these areas. There is no dearth of money under schemes like NRHM. “But it goes waste when communication for planning and implementation of schemes is delayed,” he said. “Both UP and Chhattisgarh have capable officials,but they seem to lack the timely decision-making abilities.”

Statistics also highlight that Uttar Pradesh is the riskiest state for a woman to have a baby in. With only 22 per cent institutional deliveries — 30 per cent aided by skilled birth attendants ¿ and 52 per cent of India’s severely malnourished children,the state is one of the worst for pregnant women,the experts said.

The member of Planning Commission of India,Dr Syeda Hameed,said the civil society and the government departments need to work together on the issue.

On the occasion,PFI’s governing board chairperson Harishankar Singhania also released its report on the state of Population,Health and Social Development in UP,MP,Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand and said experiences shared by organisations from these states can go a long way towards finding effective solutions.

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