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What is RCH?

The abbreviation RCH stands for Reproductive and Child Health. It is a programme that was initiated in October 1997 with the goal of battling and lowering maternal, newborn, and child mortality rates. It was formulated as per the recommendation of the International Conference on Population and Development held in Cario in 1994. The International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo gave RCH programme definition as “A state of complete, physical, mental, and social well-being and merely the absence of disease or infirmity in all matters relating to the reproductive system and its function and process”. The article discusses what is RCH and what RCH stands for, the article also discusses the objectives of reproductive and child health programmes. National Health Mission is the umbrella programme under which (RMNCH+A) Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Reproductive and Child Health programme is administered.

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Reproductive and Child Health Survey Programme in India

On October 15, 1997, the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) Program was inaugurated across the nation. This initiative sought to achieve a situation whereby females will be able to control their fertility, get through pregnancy and childbirth safely, and have successful pregnancies that result in the survival and well-being of both the mother and infant. Couples will also be allowed to engage without the worry of developing sexually transmitted illnesses. Within the broader goal of lowering baby, child, and maternal death rates. RCH - II, the second phase of the RCH programme, was inaugurated on April 1, 2005. The project's key objective was to modify three key physiological parameters: total fertility rate, infant mortality rate, and maternal mortality rate, in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The RMCH+A strategy was launched in 2013, and it seeks to solve the leading causes of death among women and children, along with obstacles in receiving and using primary healthcare services. The RMNCH+A systemic method was suggested to provide a better understanding of the 'continuum of care,' ensuring that different life phases are given equal attention. Important actions have already been added for each subject area to ensure that the links in them are contextualised to the same and subsequent life stages. It also includes new programmes including the use of a Score Card to assess effectiveness, the National Iron + Initiative to combat anaemia in people of all ages, and Systematic assessment and early treatment for birth abnormalities, illnesses, and deficits in children and teenagers. The RMNCH+A correctly urges states to concentrate their efforts on the nation's most vulnerable members of society and marginalised people. It also underlines the importance of bolstering efforts in low-performing regions which have already been designated as high-focus areas.

Objectives of Reproductive And Child Health Programme

The main objectives of RCH are mentioned below.

  • To improve the health of women and children to guarantee safe maternity and child survival, with the intermediate goal of lowering IMR and MMR.

  • Population stability is the ultimate goal, which may be achieved by appropriate reproductive behaviour.

  • To improve policy administration and oversight by using a participatory design method that empowers organisations to make the best use of project resources.

  • To improve the present Family wellness services' quality, coverage, and effectiveness.

  • To gradually broaden the scope and coverage of services related to family welfare in order to provide a comprehensive package of RCH help.

  • To improve the quality and infrastructure of FW services, preferential treatment should be given to rural parts of cities or districts.

  • Increase the range and substance of existing family welfare (FW) wellness programmes in order to accommodate new components.

Intervention and steps in RCH

Since we have understood what is RCH and what RCH stands for let us look into the following main concepts that were introduced in the RCH programme,

  • Unwanted pregnancy prevention and management

  •  Maternal care (safe motherhood) 

  • Child survival 

  • STD prevention and management

  •  HIV AIDS prevention

The Steps or the Services Provided Under the RCH Programme Includes the Following.

  • Family planning, under this programme the citizens are provided with professional counselling and information and communication services on health. The programme also teaches about growth requirements, growth monitoring. Reproductive health services are also availed for adolescents.

  • Child survival, under this initiative the essential care necessary for newborn health is taught. Infection control measures and nutritional requirements are also provided under it. 

  • Safe motherhood program, under this programme, provides the service for obstetric care, infection control. The prevention of unwanted pregnancy and fertility control is provided.

  • Prevention and management of RTI, STD and AIDS is also under the objectives of reproductive and child health programme

Shortcomings of the RCH Programme

We have seen the intervention and the objectives of the RCH programme along with the  RCH programme definition, let us look into the few reasons that hindered the overall objective of the Reproductive And Child Health programme. 

  • Health care services and facilities were unavailable to the underprivileged.

  • The financial resources were mismanaged.

  • Government resources such as physicians, nurses, and health workers, were in short supply.

  • There was a gap in the information systems and assessment system.

  •  There was a lack of adequate infrastructure of initial referral units.

  • Substandard service efficiency at PHCs (primary health care centres) and CHC (community health care centres), as well as a lack of local engagement.

In conclusion of the article, we have learnt about the RCH programme definition and the objectives of reproductive and child health programmes. We have also seen the steps and facilities which is provided under the Reproductive And Child Health Programme.

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1. What is PHCs and CHCs?

PHC refers to the Primary Health Care Centre (PHC) while CHC refers to the Community Health Center (CHC). According to Indian government regulations, health institutes in rural regions are split into three categories namely Sub-centres (SC), Primary Health Care Center (PHC) and Community Health Center (CHC). In tribal regions, there should be one SHC every 3000 people, and in regular areas, one SHC per 5000 people. In tribal regions, one PHC should be provided for every 20,000 people, while in normal areas, one PHC should be provided for every 30,000 people. Similarly, one CHC should be provided for every 80,000 people in rural areas, while in regular areas, one CHC should be provided for every 120000 people. On average, there are nine PHCs for every CHC in India.

2. What is the use of data provided by reproductive and child health surveys?

Since April 2005, the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) Project -II has been in operation. The RCH programme is a comprehensive, targeted, and participatory effort to meet the needs of the target population. The survey's main goals are to provide district-level data on key maternal and child health markers like infant mortality rate, ANC coverage, delivery care, postnatal care and awareness of selected RCH-II health interventions. Data on these indicators will give an indication of the present regional disparity in health. Data on these metrics will reveal a local disparity in the current state of health and MCH healthcare provision. The survey's results will be beneficial in developing district-specific interventions and allocating resources. The Commissionerate of Family Affairs commissioned IHS.

3. What is MTP?

Medical Termination of Pregnancy, or MTP, is a method of ending a pregnancy by the use of medications. It is possible to abort a fetus with drugs in the initial stages within 7-9 weeks; thereafter, surgery is required. Medical termination of pregnancy is permissible in India if the pregnancy is no longer than 20 weeks. Disease Diagnostic Camps are envisaged under the RCH programme to provide simple access to ATI/STI treatment. The plan includes MTP services including information and counselling on MTP.

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