Haryana government urges the private sector to pump in more CSR funds to strengthen the State’s rural healthcare infrastructure

With the inclusion of healthcare in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities of companies under The Companies Act, 2013, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Haryana, has sought the participation of the private sector in strengthening health systems in the State.

NRHM Haryana mission director Dr Rakesh Gupta, also Secretary of Haryana Health Department, on his recent visit to Gurgaon held a meeting with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in which he emphasised that health sector is a better option for discharging CSR compared to any other sector. He also suggested ways as to how the private sector could contribute in the health sector of the State.  

Section 135 in Schedule VII of The Companies Act, 2013, states the activities which may be included by companies in their CSR policies. Activities like reducing child mortality and improving maternal health; combating human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome; malaria and other diseases are included in the ambit of CSR.

In a detailed presentation on “Strengthening health service delivery systems through CSR activities in Haryana”, Dr. Gupta said: “The companies can help in creating new health facilities by constructing new sub-centres, primary health centres (PHCs) and community health centres (CHCs). The capital cost required for a sub-centre is Rs. 21 lakh apart from annual running cost of Rs. 5.30 lakh. A PHC requires Rs. 156 lakh apart from annual running cost of Rs. 31.20 lakh, while CHC requires capital cost of Rs. 232 lakh with an annual recurring cost of Rs. 100 lakh. Five CHCs, 18 PHCs and 126 sub-centres are needed to be constructed in Mewat and Palwal districts alone.”

He also underlined the need for Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM) children, adding that an amount of Rs. 25.8 crore was required to buy RUTF for 11 districts as there were about 1.54 lakh SAM children here. The cost of RUTF per child is about Rs. 1,680.

Pointing out that maternal and child health remain a major area of concern, Dr. Gupta said that while many children under five continue to die from vaccine-preventable diseases, malnutrition and diarrhoea caused by inadequate sanitation, the ever increasing population accompanied by high maternal mortality places a huge strain on the existing health infrastructure.

“The private sector can contribute to the development of the state health infrastructure by way of cash and in-kind contributions in areas of technology, fixed assets, human resource augmentation and behaviour change communications. The contribution can be made either through market- based partnerships or by way of corporate citizenship initiatives in order to achieve Millennium Development Goals at the earliest, to plug existing gaps in infrastructure, institutional strengthening and finances that are important to achieve the desired health goals but are beyond the mandate of NRHM and to rapidly augment provisioning of health services in the districts of Mewat and Palwal which face challenge due to their peculiar demographic profile. Some Companies can contribute in enhancing skills and capacity building of the para- medical staff while some can come forward in media time sponsorship for placement of health communication messages in electronic media, mobile devices, sponsorship for live shows and display advertisements in newspapers,” said Dr. Gupta.

NRHM was launched in 2005 with the objective of providing equitable, affordable and quality healthcare which is accountable and at the same time responsive to the needs of people.

Dr. Gupta, who holds doctorate degree in Health from a U.S. university, said that during the last eight years, institutional deliveries in Haryana have increased from 37 per cent to 84 per cent; however, the administration have not been able to fully immunise all children, despite the immunisation programme running for about 25 years now.