Planning Commission's working group recommends repeating last Plan targets in the 12th Plan
A recently released report of the Planning Commission's working group on National Rural Health Mission shows the government has been unable to meet the health goals set by the 11th Five-Year Plan. The group submitted its report for the Twelfth Five-Year Plan recently. The report scrutinised whether targets were met under the 11th Five-Year Plan, in an effort to guide the next plan starting April 2012. The current plan, which is about to lapse, had set measurable outcomes for seven health indicators, including maternal mortality, infant mortality, provision of clean drinking water, reduction of anaemia, reduction of malnutrition and reduction of fertility rate in women.
As the country is yet to reach the targets set under the 11th Plan, the group recommends that targets could be repeated. For example, the target of maternal mortality rate (MMR) will continue to be (less than) <100 per 100,000 live births. Analysis by the group showed that MMR is likely to decrease to just 156 per 100,000 live births by year 2012. Maternal mortality rates in India are the highest in the world.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu have already achieved the MMR goal. But other states are lagging far behind. In Assam, despite a 22 points decline in MMR per year, the 2012 figure is likely to be a high 220 per 100,000 live births. The state has the worst maternal mortality figures in the country. MMR in the state declined at only 3 per 100,000 in the first three years of the current Five-Year Plan. Thereafter it recorded a steep decline of 30 points per year, but the state still has a high MMR of 390/100,000 live births. Poor states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan have higher MMR. These states also have a higher fertility rate than Assam and this puts mothers more at risk.
Even states like Karnataka, which boasts of good health facilities, have failed to meet the 11th Plan target. The state lags significantly with an MMR of 178 per 100,000 live births. With the current rate of decline, it is likely to reach reach the rate of about 130 per 100,000 live births in 2012.
Considering the variability between states, the working group has recommended that for indicators such as maternal mortality and infant mortality, state specific targets will be set. For example in case of IMR, target would be a reduction by 40 per cent and for MMR, reduction by 55 per cent over the period of 12th Plan.