BHUBANESWAR: Odisha has a lot of unfinished business in the health sector, if one goes by NITI Aayog’s Health Index Report. Be it drop in neo-natal mortality or low birth weight of newborn; immunisation coverage or access of HIV patients to anti-retro viral therapy, the State continues to be among the low-performing States in the country.“Healthy States, Progressive India,” the report released by the national think tank on Friday, puts Odisha in the aspirants category among the larger states.
An array of factors were taken into account for determining the rankings and performance. Both NITI Aayog and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare used 2014-15 as the base year while 2015-16 was the reference year.Kerala with a score of 76.55 was the top performer followed by Punjab with 65.21 and Tamil Nadu 63.38. At the bottom was Uttar Pradesh (33.69) while Rajasthan (36.79), Bihar (38.46), Odisha (39.43) and Madhya Pradesh (40.09) were above it but in the same bracket.
Odisha slipped from 16th rank to 18th during the assessment period and much of the key indicators either showed a fall or a marginal improvement in performance. Its incremental performance almost remained the same.The State can take heart from the fact that it has performed well in Key Inputs and Processes while the Overall Performance and Health Outcomes have been low.The report shows that the State continues to record the highest neo-natal mortality rate in the country and the decline between the base and reference years has been extremely marginal - from 36 deaths per 1000 births to 35.
Similar is its record in Under-5 mortality. “Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Haryana, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Assam and Madhya Pradesh, with under-5 mortality above 35 deaths per 1000 live births will require concerted efforts to ensure that this target is achieved,” the NITI Aayog Health Index said.The improvement the State has achieved in overcoming low birth weight babies was also found to be meagre in the report. It, in fact, was ranked 20th among 21 larger States.
While the sex ratio at birth was better, the State has reported a drop in immunisation coverage, from 88 per cent to 85 per cent. Its performance in institutional delivery saw a small drop and the report said Odisha, among other States, need to pull up its socks.The access of people living with HIV to ART was found to be the lowest among the 21 larger states though its incremental performance showed an improvement. Just about 33 per cent PLHIV have access to ART in the State.
In terms of governance, Odisha showed certain improvement in terms of occupancy of key officers in top positions in Health Department such as Secretary, NHM Director and Director Health Services but compared to other States, it still was trailing.In terms of positioning ANMs at sub-centres and staff nurses at PHCs and CHC, the State was right at the top with very little vacancy but in terms of vacancies of medical officers, it did not fare very well.