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Mapping health facilities in India

New Delhi, India, September 19, 2007: The Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (National Population Stabilisation Fund) has undertaken a unique exercise of mapping the existing health facilities in the country right up to the district level.

An amalgamation of GIS maps and the Census figures of 2001, the survey gives a picture of each district, its sub-district, prominent towns and urban areas and the distance of each village from the nearest primary health centre. The maps highlight inequities in coverage down to every village to enable resources to be targeted where they are most needed.

“We have also ranked the districts as per their health indicators to focus on the areas which need attention,” says Shailaja Chandra, Executive Director of the Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh, a registered society under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The prime objective of the Kosh is to achieve national population stabilisation at a level consistent with sustainable development. It promotes innovative projects, undertakes operational research studies and channelises contributions that support population stabilisation.

The GIS mapping and amalgamation of Census data has been completed for the entire country except in the North-Eastern States and Himachal Pradesh due to non-availability of village-level boundary data. The Kosh is now working on a proposal to establish a call centre to give information on sexual health and family planning in English and Hindi using computer-based software.

Another very near-term goal is to establish a Virtual Resource Centre which provides access to information on various subjects. While India’s population growth rate has been declining over the years, the overall population will continue to grow as 58 per cent of the population is in the reproductive age group and 26 million are born each year.