The Mukerji Committee Report on Basic Health Services
In December 1965, the Central Council of Health, government of India, established a committee with B. Mukerji – the union health secretary at the time – as its chairperson. The Mukerji Committee Report on Basic Health Services was published in 1968.
Committee was tasked with devising a ‘concept, pattern and methodology’ for the
government of India to provide basic health services to its citizens. It had to
review the personnel requirements
for different categories of health workers in each district.
33-page report contains four sections covering the Committee’s approach and
principles (Section I), the composition and organisation of basic health
services in India (Section II), the arrangement of such services in urban areas
(Section III) and financial assistance to state governments for health
programmes (Section IV).
The main programmes that the basic health services should include – notes the Committee – are those related to malaria and smallpox eradication, family planning and the production of health statistics.
The Committee recommends that there should be a ‘basic health worker’ for every 10,000 people in rural and 15,000 people in urban areas. In areas with sparse populations, there should be a basic health worker for every 8,000 people.
For every four basic health workers, states the report, there should be a health inspector to closely supervise and guide them.
Health agencies at the district-level should support ‘peripheral staff’ at primary health centres (PHCs) in conducting epidemiological investigations. The agencies should provide consultative and referral services to PHCs for family planning, nursing, health education, laboratory work, environmental sanitation, epidemiology and the control of communicable diseases.
State governments should coordinate the promotion of basic health services with other governmental and non-governmental agencies. This way, basic health services could be promoted by community development workers, educational workers, as well as employees of Panchayati Raj Institutions and other voluntary agencies.
The report states that basic health services in urban areas should focus specifically on the eradication of malaria and smallpox. It emphasises the need to provide such services in slum areas, colonies of migrant labourers and those of Dalits.
The Committee suggests that the central government provide financial, administrative and technical support to state governments to improve their basic health services. It specifically says that the central government should provide state governments with financial assistance to employ additional staff at PHCs and sub-centres.
Focus and Factoids by Sruti Penumetsa.
Mukerji Committee (B. Mukerji was its chairperson)
Central Council of Health, Government of India