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What is the full form of NRHM

NRHM: National Rural Health Mission


When an individual's health deteriorates, peace, happiness, financial resources, and prosperity lose significantly. To experience a life filled with worldly delights, one's well-being becomes an essential prerequisite. The advancement of any nation on the path of progress is hindered by a populace plagued by illness and unwellness. Hence, it becomes the primary duty of every country's governing body to ensure the provision of comprehensive healthcare facilities and implement welfare initiatives to enhance its citizens' well-being.

What is NRHM?

NRHM Full Form

The Prime Minister initiated the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) on April 12, 2005, to ensure accessible, affordable, and high-quality healthcare for the rural populace, particularly vulnerable groups. This program holds significant relevance in terms of UPSC and other government exams, particularly in the context of topics related to social justice and welfare schemes. Additionally, the Empowered Action Group (EAG) States are given special emphasis while also considering the states of North-East, J&K, and Himachal Pradesh to ensure targeted attention is provided where it is most needed.

NRHM Program List

The states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and recently Jammu and Kashmir have all been included in the list of regions covered by the National Rural Health Mission. A dedicated social and health worker known as ASHA has been appointed in each village and ward to facilitate effective implementation. These ASHA workers receive regular and timely training for their responsibilities. Under the National Rural Health Mission, ASHA is entrusted with several crucial tasks, including:

  • Ensuring safe delivery in a government hospital,
  • Care of the newborn baby and providing access to the government assistance amount to the beneficiary,
  • Creating awareness among people about waterborne and infectious diseases,
  • To educate people about the importance of a balanced diet,
  • Encouraging the construction and use of toilets at home.

ASHA workers undertake various social initiatives within their designated areas, contributing significantly to the community's well-being. As part of their role, they are equipped with a medical kit containing essential supplies for immediate first aid, enabling them to provide prompt treatment and relief for common ailments.

Furthermore, apart from the government as mentioned above guidelines, the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare Development has assigned ASHA workers numerous vital responsibilities regarding the Human Development Index. These additional tasks expand the scope of the National Rural Health Mission, highlighting its multifaceted objectives to enhance healthcare, social welfare, and overall development within rural areas.

  • Reduce infant and maternal mortality.
  • women's health service
  • child health
  • water sanitation and hygiene
  • disease prevention
  • Nutrition & nutritional distribution and ensuring access to all
  • Working towards the prevention of local epidemics and infectious diseases
  • good health awareness among people
  • Preventing population growth and promoting family planning
  • Special efforts towards reducing the imbalance in the number of boys and girls
  • To make available information from time to time about healthy lifestyle among the people.

Objectives and Components of NRHM

NRHM had several objectives, which included:

  • Reducing infant and maternal mortality rates: NRHM aimed to reduce the mortality rates of infants and pregnant women by improving antenatal care, institutional deliveries, postnatal care, and newborn care services. It focused on strengthening the delivery of healthcare services to ensure better health outcomes for mothers and children.
  • Universalizing primary healthcare: NRHM aimed to provide accessible, affordable, and quality primary healthcare services to all rural households. It sought to strengthen the existing primary healthcare infrastructure, including Sub-Centers, Primary Health Centers (PHCs), and Community Health Centers (CHCs), and enhance their capacity to deliver comprehensive healthcare services.
  • Improving healthcare infrastructure: NRHM focused on enhancing the physical infrastructure of healthcare facilities in rural areas. This involved constructing new health centers, upgrading existing ones, ensuring the availability of essential equipment and drugs, and improving the overall quality of healthcare infrastructure to meet the needs of the rural population.
  • Human resource development: NRHM aimed to address the shortage of healthcare professionals in rural areas. It focused on recruiting and training healthcare workers, such as doctors, nurses, and paramedics, to improve the availability and quality of healthcare services in underserved areas. It also emphasized capacity-building programs for healthcare providers and managers.
  • Community participation and decentralized planning: NRHM aimed to involve local communities in the planning, implementing, and monitoring healthcare programs. It encouraged the formation of Village Health and Sanitation Committees (VHSCs) and empowered them to make decisions regarding local healthcare needs. It aimed to strengthen decentralized planning processes to ensure that healthcare interventions were tailored to the specific requirements of each region.
  • Health information systems and monitoring: NRHM aimed to establish robust health information systems to monitor healthcare delivery, health outcomes, and program performance. It focused on collecting and analyzing health data, conducting regular assessments and surveys, and using the information to make evidence-based decisions and monitor the progress of healthcare programs.
  • Integration of vertical health programs: NRHM aimed to integrate various vertical health programs into a comprehensive and synergistic healthcare system. It sought to streamline the implementation of different disease control programs, such as those targeting malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and other communicable and non-communicable diseases, to ensure better coordination and efficient use of resources.

Features of NRHM

Some of the key features of NRHM:

  • NRHM aims to address women's and children's health through various interventions, including promoting universal immunization programs. By prioritizing immunization, NRHM strives to protect vulnerable populations and prevent the spread of diseases.
  • Furthermore, NRHM is crucial in improving the overall health sector by implementing comprehensive strategies. These strategies encompass preventive measures, curative treatments, palliative care, and rehabilitation services. Through these initiatives, NRHM works towards enhancing the overall health and well-being of the population.
  • The mission of NRHM is aligned with the broader objectives of the National Health Programme. NRHM aims to ensure the full functionality of healthcare services at all levels, adhering to the national health agenda's guidelines and principles. By aligning its efforts with the national program, NRHM contributes to the achievement of the broader healthcare goals of the country.
  • Community well-being and improved management are central to NRHM's approach. NRHM fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment among community members by actively engaging with local communities and encouraging participation. This participatory approach leads to better management of healthcare programs and services, ensuring that they are responsive to the specific needs of the communities they serve.
  • Financial enhancement is another important aspect of NRHM's agenda. NRHM seeks to optimize resource allocation and utilization by promoting inter-sectoral coordination and collaboration. This approach enables the mission to secure the necessary funding and financial support, facilitating the effective implementation of healthcare programs and services.

Implementation strategies of NRHM

The implementation strategies of NRHM included:

  1. Strengthening Infrastructure: NRHM focused on strengthening the healthcare infrastructure in rural areas. This involved constructing and renovating health facilities such as sub-centers, primary health centers (PHCs), and community health centers (CHCs). The aim was to enhance the capacity of these facilities to provide quality healthcare services.
  2. Human Resource Development: NRHM addressed the shortage of healthcare professionals in rural areas by recruiting and training doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other healthcare workers. It implemented capacity-building programs to enhance the skills and competencies of healthcare providers. This included training in clinical skills, emergency medical care, public health management, and behavior change communication.
  3. Accreditation and Quality Assurance: NRHM emphasized the need for quality healthcare services. It introduced processes for the accreditation and certification of healthcare facilities, such as the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS). These standards ensured that the facilities met the prescribed norms and guidelines related to infrastructure, equipment, and human resources.
  4. Community Participation: NRHM recognized the importance of community engagement in healthcare delivery. It encouraged the formation of Village Health and Sanitation Committees (VHSCs) and other community-based organizations. These committees actively participated in the decision-making, planning, and monitoring of healthcare programs, ensuring that the services catered to the specific needs of the local communities.
  5. Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY): NRHM launched the Janani Suraksha Yojana, a conditional cash transfer program, to promote institutional deliveries and reduce maternal and neonatal mortality rates. Under this scheme, pregnant women were provided financial assistance for availing of antenatal care, transportation to health facilities, and delivery in healthcare institutions.
  6. Mobile Medical Units (MMUs): NRHM introduced Mobile Medical Units to reach remote and inaccessible areas with healthcare services. These units had medical personnel, essential drugs, and diagnostic equipment to provide underserved populations with basic healthcare and diagnostic services.
  7. Public-Private Partnerships (PPP): NRHM encouraged partnerships between the public and private sectors to improve healthcare services in rural areas. It facilitated the engagement of private healthcare providers in delivering services and strengthened the regulatory framework to ensure quality and accountability in public-private collaborations.
  8. Health Information Management System (HMIS): NRHM emphasized the importance of health information systems for effective planning, monitoring, and evaluation of healthcare programs. It promoted the implementation of the Health Management Information System (HMIS) to collect, analyze, and disseminate health data for evidence-based decision-making.
  9. Integration of Vertical Health Programs: NRHM aimed to integrate various disease-specific programs, such as those targeting malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and other communicable and non-communicable diseases, into a comprehensive healthcare system. This integration helped streamline program implementation, improve coordination, and optimize resource utilization.
  10. Inter-Sectoral Coordination: NRHM promoted inter-sectoral coordination to address the social determinants of health and enhance the population's overall well-being. It collaborated with various sectors such as education, sanitation, water supply, and nutrition to ensure a holistic approach to healthcare delivery.

Beneficiaries of NRHM

The National Rural Health Mission emphasizes delivering essential healthcare services to the impoverished and marginalized individuals in India's rural regions. Its primary objective is to address a wide range of prevalent diseases, including but not limited to malaria, mumps, blindness, filariasis, kala-azar fever, tuberculosis, and cancer. The government extends additional support and assistance to ensure adequate medical aid and care for these conditions.

Moreover, the National Rural Health Mission recognizes the importance of prioritizing the health and well-being of children and women. It implements comprehensive initiatives to promote their healthy development, access to nutritious diets, clean water supply, basic education, and overall welfare. These health programs and schemes are effectively conducted within Panchayats and rural areas, ensuring that the specific needs of these vulnerable populations are addressed and met with targeted interventions.

Success of NRHM

Based on the health status and facility reports from various states over the past several years, the National Rural Health Mission has undertaken crucial work in the rural areas of India. This government initiative has resulted in noticeable improvements in maternal and infant mortality rates, reductions in malnutrition, and increased health awareness.

Nevertheless, the ultimate goal of the National Rural Health Mission is to achieve zero levels in these parameters, indicating that there is still much work to be done. Each year, a growing influx of patients seeking medical care at community hospitals in rural areas indicates an increasing awareness among the population regarding their health needs. Notably, there has been significant progress in promoting safe deliveries, aided by government provisions that include free medicines and assistance for hospital deliveries.

To continue this positive trajectory, ongoing efforts and interventions are required to ensure that comprehensive healthcare services are readily accessible and that people receive the necessary support to address their health concerns effectively. By prioritizing these areas, the National Rural Health Mission can contribute towards further advancements in rural healthcare and well-being.

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