Report of the Working Group on Health for All by 2000 A.D.
The government of India appointed the Working Group on Health for All by 2000 A.D. on July 18, 1980, with Kripa Narain – secretary at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare at the time – as its chairperson.
a signatory to the Declaration
of Alma Mata, the report observes, India committed to attaining ‘Health for
All’ by the year 2000. (The Declaration was adopted on September 12, 1978, at
the International Conference on Primary Health Care in Alma-Ata, USSR.)
Working Group was to review the status of health in India and the government’s
existing health programmes; evolve an outline for health programmes in the
Sixth Five-Year Plan (1980 to 1985) to achieve ‘Health for All’; and suggest programmes
for rural and tribal areas, as well as slum dwellers.
Working Group appointed five sub-groups to fulfil its objectives,: the Sub-Group on Meaning
of Health for All in the Background of India’s Health Needs, Indices to be Achieved
by 2000 A.D., Plan-wise Planning of Indices, and Strategies to be Followed to Achieve
Health for All by 2000 A. D.; the Sub-Group on Inter-Sectoral Coordination to Achieve
Health for All by 2000 A.D.; the Sub-Group on Community Involvement to Achieve
Health for All by 2000 A.D.; the Sub-Group on the Role of Voluntary
Organisations to Achieve Health for All by 2000 A.D.; and the Sub-Group on
Health Services Organisation to Achieve Health for All by 2000 A.D.
report contains a preface (chapter 1), an introduction (chapter 2), and the
reports of the five sub-groups (chapter 3).
The fundamental objective of the State and its national health plans should be to provide universal primary healthcare and medical services to all sections of society, specifically to those in the tribal, hilly and remote rural areas – the report states.
The Working Group notes that the government’s expenditure on social services decreased from 21 per cent in the First Five-Year Plan (1951 to 1956) to 13 per cent in an outline for the Sixth Five-Year Plan (1980 to 1985). The expenditure on health reduced from five to 1.8 per cent.
The report suggests targets for health indicators for the year 2000. The maternal mortality rate, which was 4.8 per cent in 1976, should be below two per cent in 2000. The life expectancy at birth was 52.6 years for males and 51.6 years for females in 1976, and it should be 64 years for both genders by 2000. The infant mortality rate was 125 deaths per 1,000 births in 1978, and the Working Group states that it should reach below 60 deaths.
The report says that state governments should provide a ‘minimum package’ of health services in the Sixth Five-Year Plan period. The package should include the universal provision of promotive, preventive and basic curative services; the prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases; promoting a plan of food supply to improve nutritional status; special healthcare plans such as family planning programmes; and ‘population education’ to enable people to practise the ‘small family norm’.
According to the report of the Sub-Group on Meaning of Health for All in the Background of India’s Health Needs, the ‘primary health care approach’ is necessary to attain health for all by 2000.
Strengthening the education sector is crucial to achieve health for all by 2000 as education has a direct bearing on efforts to promote health. The report of the Sub-Group on Inter-Sectoral Coordination to Achieve Health for All recommends that health education be included in schools, colleges and universities.
State governments should implement school health programmes to conduct periodic check-ups of children during the Sixth Five-Year Plan period – suggests the Working Group. A scheme covering children who do not attend school should also be drawn up. In addition to providing healthcare to children, such programmes can increase health awareness in the families and social groups that the children belong to.
The Sub-Group on Community Involvement to Achieve Health for All by 2000 A.D observes that the pattern of community involvement in health programmes cannot be uniform throughout the country, depending on the infrastructure available for the programme as well as other factors. The Sub-Group states that there should be at least two community health volunteers in every village, of whom one must be a woman.
The Working Group recommends that central assistance for healthcare schemes go only to those states which ban private practice by government doctors, and in all medical colleges and institutions.
The government should draw up a scheme to translate the basic texts of different traditional systems of medicine in Hindi and English from the languages in which they are available, such as Sanskrit, Arabic and Tamil.
Focus and Factoids by Riya Behl.
Working Group on Health for All by 2000 A.D. (Chairperson: Kripa Narain)
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India
25 Mar, 1981