Kerala has again emerged as the top performer in terms of overall health performance among larger states, while Uttar Pradesh is the worst, according to the fourth Health Index launched by Niti Aayog. The fourth round of the Health Index took into account the period 2019-20 (reference year). The report by the government think tank said Tamil Nadu and Telangana have emerged as the second and third best performers, respectively, on health parameters. Bihar and Madhya Pradesh were the second and third worst performers, respectively, on health parameters.
The report, however, added that Uttar Pradesh topped in terms of incremental performance by registering the highest incremental change from the base year (2018-19) to reference year (2019-20). Among the smaller states, Mizoram emerged as the best performer in overall performance as well as incremental performance, while among UTs, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir ranked among the bottom UTs in terms of overall performance but emerged as the leading performer in terms of incremental performance. The report pointed out that for the fourth consecutive round Kerala emerged as the best performer in terms of overall performance.
According to the report, Kerala and Tamil Nadu were top two performers in terms of overall performance with the highest reference year (2019-20) index scores but ranked twelfth and eighth respectively in terms of incremental performance. Telangana performed well both in terms of overall performance as well as incremental performance and secured the third position in both instances.
It pointed out that Rajasthan was the weakest performer both in terms of overall performance and incremental performance. In the case of smaller states, Mizoram and Tripura registered strong overall performance, and at the same time showed improvements in incremental performance, the report added.
As per the report, the health index is a weighted composite score incorporating 24 indicators covering key aspects of health performance. It said health index comprises select indicators in three domains -- health outcomes, governance and information, and key inputs and processes.
Releasing the report, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said: "States are beginning to take cognizance of indices such as the State Health Index and use them in their policymaking and resource allocation." This report is an example of both competitive and cooperative federalism, Kumar added.
The report has been prepared in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) with technical assistance from the World Bank. According to an official statement, the importance of this annual tool was re-emphasized by MoHFW's decision to link the index to incentives under the National Health Mission.
This has been instrumental in shifting the focus from budget spending and inputs to outputs and outcomes, it added.