After the efforts to mainstream of Ayush with other health facilities under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) failed to ensure desired results, the Department of Ayush has now sought Rs.10,160 crore to be placed under its disposal during the next five year plan.
With the present system of release of funds under NRHM, the objective of mainstreaming of Ayush as set out in the National Policy on ISM&H, 2002 and as included as part of NRHM mandate, was not having the desired impact at the State level, since health is a State subject and States are free to set their own priorities from the funds received by them, according to sources in the Department.
The Ayush department has also pointed out that the States when faced with shortage of resources to the extent sought by them, quite often tend to restrict the outlay in the Ayush sector. “The Department of Ayush therefore suggested that since mainstreaming of Ayush is the core strategy of NRHM, Rs.10160 Cr may be earmarked out of NRHM funds at the disposal of Department of Ayush. If the Planning Commission finds it difficult to earmark and place the funds of Department of Health and Family Welfare under the Department of Ayush, then mainstreaming of Ayush may be separated from NRHM Flexipool and an amount of Rs.10,160 crore may be placed with the Department of Ayush for effective implementation and monitoring during Twelfth Plan,” sources said.
However, the Planning Commission is reportedly not in favour of this demand. “Earmarking of funds under NRHM for Ayush activities, as suggested by Department of Ayush is not possible since it runs against the basic tenet of NRHM. States decide what activities are to be taken up during the financial year,” the Plan panel has commented on the proposal. It has instead suggested reworking of the strategy for mainstreaming Ayush under NRHM mandate.
One of the core strategies of NRHM was to promote co-location of Ayush services with other mainstream health facilities, so that people have a better access to Ayush, a choice between systems and so that the human resource and infrastructure can be shared and synergized for better reaching NRHM goals. Under this scheme 11575 Ayush doctors and 4616 paramedical staff have been appointed- over 60 per cent of these doctors being in high focus states. In a total of 18222 health care facilities Ayush services have been co located- and this includes 416 district hospitals, 2942 CHCs and 1246 other sub-district hospitals, 9559 PHCs and 4059 equivalent primary care facilities. Apart from the above services there is an almost equal or more number of Ayush standalone facilities at the Primary and Secondary Level Ayush Hospitals (3360) and Dispensaries (21769) as well as 7 National Institutes which offer tertiary level care.