In an effort to better assess health outcomes across India, the NITI Aayog on Friday launched the Healthy States Progressive Report. Released by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Ministry of Health Secretary Preeti Sudan and India country director of World Bank Junaid Ahmad, the report is the first step to establish an annual systematic tool to measure and understand the complexity of nation’s performance in health.
Speaking at the launch of the report in New Delhi, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said the Health Index has been evolved through comprehensive study and inputs from World Bank India and the Ministry of Health. “The study of the incremental performance of states will ensure we can better assess health outcomes,” said Kant.
The country’s primary planning body said their job was to first challenge states, do workshops and subsequently rank states on the Health Index. “Our job was first to challenge states, secondly to do workshops with states and thirdly to put it in ranking. While Historical ranking is important, it is very important for us to capture change per year. Best thing was that the eastern states Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have done very well. They have come 4th and 5th and have moved up the ladder very fast. They have taken some radical reforms,” Kant was quoted as saying by ANI.
Corroborating Kant’s earlier statement, NITI member Dr Vinod Paul said absolute and incremental changes in health outcomes, as measured by the Health Index, promotes cross-learning between states, capturing the very spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism. Dr Paul, who was a member of the High-Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage formed by the erstwhile Planning Commission, also leads the WHO Collaborating Centre on Newborn Health for South East Asia Region and the Centre for Advanced Research in Newborn Health (Indian Council of Medical Research).
As per the report, among larger states, Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu ranked on top in terms of overall performance, while Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh are the top three ranking states in terms of annual incremental performance. Among smaller states, Mizoram ranked first followed by Manipur on overall performance, while Manipur followed by Goa were top-ranked states in terms of annual incremental performance, revealed the report. Meanwhile, among Union Territories, Lakshadweep showed both the best overall performance as well as the highest annual incremental performance.
The Niti Aayog is also working towards a launch on Independence Day of the government’s latest flagship National Health Protection Scheme, which was announced in the Union Budget earlier this month. Top officials in the Aayog had told The Indian Express that Gandhi Jayanti, on October 2, was the “upper limit” deadline for the formal launch while the fullscale rollout, subject to the pace of work by states, is expected to take place in about one-and-a-half years. Consultations with states are expected to start next week. Also Read: I-Day launch goal for National Health Protection Scheme, aims to cover 10 crore poor families
The ambitious scheme aims to cover over 10 crore “poor and vulnerable” families — an estimated 50 crore individual beneficiaries — with coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year.