Maharashtra climbs to third rank in health index

Improves on under-five mortality rate, number of functional cardiac care units

Updated - December 03, 2021 08:30 am IST

Published - June 26, 2019 01:34 am IST - Mumbai

Maharashtra has ranked third in terms of overall health performance in the second edition of the health index released by the NITI Aayog on Tuesday, climbing up three spots from its sixth position in the first edition. The State has improved its performance under various parameters.

The Health Index is a composite score incorporating 23 indicators covering key aspects of health sector performance. The second edition analysed the overall performance and incremental improvement in the States and Union Territories for a period of two years: 2015-16 (base year) and 2017-18 (reference year).

According to the report, Maharashtra has achieved the sustainable development goal (SDG) target of under-five mortality rate (U5MR), which is 25 deaths per 1,000 live births, and is close to achieving the target for neonatal mortality rate (NMR), which is 12 deaths per 1,000 live births. Kerala and Tamil Nadu have already achieved this target.

While only six States had 90% institutional deliveries, Maharashtra has achieved 89.8% on this parameter. Maharashtra was also among the States that had at least one functional cardiac care unit in every two districts.

Some worries

The State lagged behind in some parameters as well. For example, there were big variations in TB notification rates across States. Among the larger States, Himachal Pradesh reported the highest case notification rate of 226 per 1,00,000, compared to 67 per 1,00,000 in Kerala. Maharashtra’s rate of TB notification stood at 159.

The index also looked at vacancies in the health sector. For example, there were more than 40% vacant positions of medical officers in primary health centres in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand. But Maharashtra’s figure stood at 22.8%. In terms of specialists, only three States — Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Punjab — reported fewer than 20% vacancies of specialists in district hospitals. Maharashtra had 47.3% vacancies.

Health activist Dr. Abhijit More, the co-convenor of Jan Aarogya Abhiyan, said Maharashtra has been performing well on certain indicators for a long time. “The State does deserve applause for the ranking. If the government improves the infrastructure and resources, we can do much better. But the question remains if we want to simply compare ourselves with other States and be happy, or should we compare our health care with that in other countries and know where we stand,”Dr. More said. “Access to health care remains a very big issue. We need to look at the wider picture,” he said.

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