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Reclaiming the Public Health System: Qualitative Report on Community Based Monitoring and Planning of Health Services in Maharashtra

By: Prashant Khunte, Amruta Walimbe

The general perception is that nothing can happen smoothly and efficiently in public systems. While people often complain about delays and problems they experience in Government offices, they exhibit indifference towards this system at the same time. The public health system is no exception to this prevalent sense of apathy. Usually people are least concerned about the state of health services, as they consider it as a government function. Nevertheless, this apathy, as this document presents, can be turned into concern and action.

This document presents the process of implementing ‘Community Based Monitoring and Planning’ (CBMP) in Maharashtra that has been initiated with support from the ‘National Rural Health Mission'(NRHM). The CBMP experience shows that people’s indifference is waning and ‘government’ clinics are becoming ‘peoples’ clinics. This document explains the emergence, scope, impact and future challenges of this innovative concept, and also presents views and opinions of various stakeholders, such as a member of National Planning Commission, noted social activists, senior media persons, health officials from state and district levels, NGO and CBO activists, village level health functionaries and community members, about CBMP.