J. Chem. En. Sci. A.

Functioning of Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees in Punjab: An Appraisal

Dr Shaik Iftikhar Ahmed

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  • DOI Number
    DOI https://doi.org/10.15415/jce.2017.32008
PUBLISHER The Author(s) 2017. This article is published with open access at www.chitkara.edu.in/ Publications

The present study aims to assess the composition of VHSNCs; to assess the functioning of VHSNCs and find out the deviations, if any, from the prescribed framework of guidelines and, to understand awareness of VHSNC members about their roles. The proposed study is based on primary data collected with the help of structured questionnaire. The data was collected from one hundred Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees in Punjab. Four districts of the Punjab state were selected randomly from each direction i.e North, South, East and West. The districts selected were Gurdaspur, Mansa, Mohali and Firozpur from North, South, East and West direction respectively. The study reveals that sampled VHSNCs in Punjab have 12 members per VHSNC. One-fourth of the chairpersons of the VHSNCs in Punjab were illiterate Only 23 per cent of the VHSNCs claimed to have prepared the village health plan. Meetings were organized on monthly basis in only half of the expected meetings per VHSNC. Large number of members was not attending the meetings organised by VHSNCs in Punjab. Majority of the funds received by VHSNCs was utilized for sanitation and cleanliness of the village. Majority of members were not aware about the components and objectives of VHSNC. All members reported that the untied fund is always helpful in solving the issues and problems of the village and the amount of untied fund given to VHSNCs should be increased.


National Health Mission (NHM) seeks to provide accessible, affordable and quality healthcare to the rural population, especially the vulnerable sections. It also seeks to improve the maternal and child health services throughout the country. The NRHM has placed strong emphasis in addressing local issues and its solutions and making it community centric through the involvement of Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs). In the process, the responsibility of preparing village health plans, its implementation and monitoring has been entrusted to the Village Health Nutrition and Sanitation Committee (VHNSC) formed at village level. These committees are entrusted with the responsibility of enhancing people’s participation in improving healthcare services in the rural areas by increasing awareness about health and health entitlements with special focus on women and children (Sah Pramod Kumar et al 2013, Srivastava et. al. 2016).

The roles of VHSNC include development of the village health plan, monitoring of health activities in the village and having a comprehensive understanding of health related activities. Untied fund is also made available to VHSNC for various health activities including IEC, household survey, preparation of health register, organization of meetings at the village level etc. (Semwal V et al 2013)

The NHM has provided guidelines for the framework, functions and responsibilities of these committees and has provided an ‘untied fund’ of rupees 10,000 per VHNSC per annum. It is expected that community leaders will participate in the governance and improvement of the health facilities of the area. The untied funds should be utilized with the consensus of the community.

Studies conducted to assess the VHSNC in India indicated that formation of committees and fund utilization was not according to guidelines and there were irregularities with reference to conduct meetings. Punjab implemented NHM in 2005 and the VHSNCs came into existence in 2007. Although VHSNCs were formed in almost all the villages in Punjab since 2007 but their functioning was never assessed. There is a need to ascertain whether there is appropriate understanding among the members of VHNSC about their roles, responsibilities and preparedness and capacities to prepare village health plan and act upon it. Hence, this study was designed to assess the functioning of VHNSCs in Punjab.

Page(s) 101–122
URL http://dspace.chitkara.edu.in/jspui/bitstream/123456789/715/1/JCE003_Ahmed.pdf
ISSN Print : 2349-7564, Online : 2349-7769
DOI DOI https://doi.org/10.15415/jce.2017.32008
  • Sah Pramod Kumar et al (2013) “Performance of Village Health, Nutrition and Sanitation Committee: A Qualitative Study from Rural Wardha, Maharashtra’’, The Health Agenda, Vol. 1, No. 4.
  • Semwal V et al (2013) “Assessment of Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committee Under NRHM in Nainital District Of Uttarakhand”, Indian Journal of Community Health, Vol. 25, No 4.
  • Srivastava et. al. (2016) “Are Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees Fulfilling their Roles for Decentralised Health Planning and Action? A Mixed Methods Study From Rural Eastern India”, Bio Medical Central, Public Health,16:59, https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles www.pbnrhm. org