ON THE CARDS

India Today - - IN­TER­VIEW -

mixed. But first, some con­text:

The last na­tional cen­sus (2011) pegged Ra­jasthan’s pop­u­la­tion at about 68 mil­lion, with 75 per cent clas­si­fied as ‘ru­ral’. The birth rate was in the re­gion of 25 ba­bies per 1,000 peo­ple. Put an­other way, about 1.7 mil­lion ba­bies were born in Ra­jasthan in 2011. Un­like ur­ban pop­u­la­tions, vil­lage folk are al­most en­tirely de­pen­dent on the gov­ern­ment for ba­sic med­i­cal ser­vices such as pre- and post-na­tal care for new mothers and their ba­bies, and in Ra­jasthan, the out­look is quite grim. Na­tional Health Mis­sion (NHM) data sug­gests that the ‘in­fant mor­tal­ity rate’ in the state was 47 per 1,000 births in

PA­TIENTS AWAIT THEIR TURN AT A FREE MO­BILE PATHO­LOG­I­CAL LAB IN KUNDLI NADI VIL­LAGE, SAWAI MAD­HOPUR

Ra­jasthan’s pri­mary health sec­tor may be on the mend. Is chief min­is­ter Va­sund­hara Raje’s PPP gam­ble pay­ing off? 2013. (That trans­lates to about 80,000 dead ba­bies that year). For ref­er­ence, in Ger­many—which is just a shade larger than Ra­jasthan, both in terms of land and pop­u­la­tion—the com­par­a­tive num­ber was 3.3 per 1,000 births.

In In­dia, the pub­lic health sys­tem for ru­ral pop­u­la­tions has three tiers. The first point of con­tact is known as a sub-cen­tre (SC), which is re­spon­si­ble for ma­ter­nal and child health, among other things. For ev­ery six SCs, there is one pub­lic health cen­tre (PHC), which serves as a four- to six-bed ‘mini hos­pi­tal’, and for ev­ery four PHCs, there is one com­mu­nity health cen­tre (CHC), which is a 30-bed hos­pi­tal. Un­der NHM

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