Citing serious discrepancies in assessing the state’s performance in the health sector, Tamil Nadu government has strongly objected to the latest national health index data released by the Niti Aayog and condemned the method used to formulate the final report.
In the latest health index released by Niti Aayog titled ‘Healthy States Progressive India,’ the state was seen slipping down six places, from third in 2015-16 to ninth in 2017-2018 — considered as the most severe slump in its ranking. Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan has already written to the Centre, citing “discrepancies” and “wrong interpretations” behind the decline.
State Health Minister C Vijayabaskar on Wednesday said the state has made significant improvements in several crucial areas and these stand better than the national average. “It is clear that there is something seriously wrong with the Niti Aayog report. I am writing to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan soon. We will soon release the correct data…” he said.
For instance, the report said the state’s performance declined in full immunisation coverage, institutional deliveries, tuberculosis case notification, tuberculosis (TB) treatment success rate, vacancies of medical officers in PHCs and percentage of functional 24/7 PHCs areas. However, according to the state health department, the full immunisation indicator of the state in the latest Niti Aayog data (76.1 per cent) was wrong as the denominator taken was the estimated number of births, which resulted in projecting full immunisation coverage at 76 per cent instead of the real 99 per cent if actual live births were considered as the denominator
With the total TB case notification going wrong in the Niti Aayog report, being much lesser than the actual, the treatment success rate of new microbiologically confirmed TB cases too gave Tamil Nadu a lower grade — 76 against 90 — as the health index failed to see that disease prevalence of TB was lesser in the state while considering the increased case finding as a sign of improvement, according to the department.
Kerala topped the list of best performing states.