November 03, 2010

World Bank gives many bouquets, few brick bats to TN World Bank gives many bouquets, few brick bats to TN health sector

Tamil Nadu has rushed to celebrate a World Bank news letter profiling its health sector achievements in a cover story, but a closer look of the report story in the September issue of World Bank in India' reveals that the global funding agency has also highlighted several deficiencies in the state's health delivery system. In fact, the article was contributed by Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project.

Health secretary VK Subburaj on Monday issued a press release along with a copy of the article. The story titled Tamil Nadu shows the way in tackling some of India's most pertinent health issues,' credits the state with having led the nation in building a strong foundation for public health services and being a trendsetter in maternal and neo-natal care. However, the portion where it compares maternal and infant mortality rates with Sri Lanka and Kerala, is unflattering.

"There has been a 35% reduction in infant mortality rate from 48 per1,000 live births in 1999 to 31 per1000 live births in 2006, although additional efforts are needed to bring Tamil Nadu's infant mortality rate closer to better-performing neighbours such and Sri Lanka (18.8 per 1,000 live births and Kerala (14 per1,000 live births)," it said. On maternal mortality, it said "despite the fact that the state's ratio continues to be 25 times higher than in developed countries, according to sample registration system, maternal mortality rate has decreased from 167 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1999 to 111 per 100,000 in 2006."

It has quoted experts including former health secretary Sheela Rani Chunkath, who is now the chairman and managing director of Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation Limited, former director of public health Dr Padmanabhan and Vijayakumar, project director of the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project and senior public health specialist Preeti Kudesia.

It applauds the state's effort in getting 99.5 % of women to deliver at a hospital or a healthcare centre, gearing up transport of women in labour through 108 ambulance services, 24-hour specilised clincs equipped with operation theatres, blood banks, intensive care units and diagnostic labs. It also highlighted better nutrition, vaccination coverage in children and pregnant women, and extended health services through a network of district and taluk level hospitals, primary health centres and health sub-centres in rural areas.

The report mentions two unique schemes, a pilot project in Sivaganga and Virudunagar for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and automating processes and online data management of 41 government hospitals through the health management information systems.

Link: Original Article

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