Health Delivery System in India

Health delivery system in India


Health delivery system in India-

The health delivery system differs in each country with respect to the population. So a huge population would mean that greater efforts are needed to manage the health delivery system. Then how is this system managed in a country with a large population like India?

India is a county with 29 states and 9 union territories. In such a big country, the Central government only creates guidelines for the health delivery system. Then who is responsible for implementing this? Well, the state governments abide by these guidelines and ensure that the healthcare and standards of living in their state is maintained. Several regulatory bodies are involved in this entire process.

To understand this, let’s explore the healthcare delivery system in India in brief.

The basic outline:

The healthcare system in India can be divided at the following levels:

  • Central
  • State
  • Local or Peripheral

Each of these levels has its responsibilities to maintain the health delivery system of the country.

Health Delivery

Health delivery system at the Central level:

At the central or national level, the following bodies act as the key players:

  • The Ministry of Health and Family welfare
  • The directorate general of Health services
  • The Central Council of health and family welfare

Ministry of Health and family welfare:

The cabinet minister heads this body and he is assisted by the deputy health minister. So, as the name suggests, this can be divided into the department of health and the department of family welfare. Each of these departments has its own secretaries and joint secretaries.

Both these departments follow the guidelines of the union and concurrent list. An overview of these lists is as follows:

  • International health relation and administration of port quarantine
  • Promotion of Research and administration of central institutes
  • Establishment and maintenance of drug standards
  • Coordination with the states
  • Prevention of communicable disease
  • Population control and family planning
  • Control of drug and poison

Directorate general of health services:

This body consists of a directorate, director and deputy director-general of Health Services. The administrative staff is also involved in this team. The general function of this team is to conduct surveys, plan, coordinate and program all the healthcare-related matters.

They again follow most of the functions specified in the union and concurrent list mentioned above. Other important functions include:

  • Implementation of national health programs
  • Conducting medical research
  • Control of drug standards

Central Council of Health:

The union health minister along with the state health minister together comprises this council. The main function involves making recommendations to the central government about the policies and proposals adopted or implemented in relation to the medical and public health matters.

Health delivery system at the state level:

Each state has its state ministry of health and family welfare. The further subdivision if this is similar to that seen at the central level. As for the functions, these include:

  • Studying the health problems prevailing in the state and coming up with measures to alleviate them
  • Preventing the outbreak of communicable diseases
  • Promotion of health education
  • Control of milk and food sanitation

Health delivery system at the peripheral level:

Each state in India has many districts and each of these districts have 6 different administrative areas namely:

  • Sub-division
  • Taluk
  • Community Development blocks
  • Municipalities
  • Villages
  • Panchayats

The health care system varies at each of these levels and this system includes:

  • Public health sector
  • Private sector
  • Indigenous system of medicine
  • Voluntary health agencies
  • National health programs


Public health sector:

This sector consists of the primary health centers, community health centers, health insurance schemes, and other agencies. The peripheral outpost of the Indian healthcare system forms the sub-center. These are provided with basic drugs to treat all minor ailments. Immunization in rural areas is generally done via these sub-centers.

The primary health center forms the next level of the healthcare system. This forms a connection between the village and the medical officer. These are maintained by the state government to provide integrated curative and preventive healthcare in rural areas.

Further advancement of the primary health center leads to the community health center which comes under the category of hospitals. These are again maintained by the state governments. The main advantage of this center is that they have a department for a maternal health checkup, neonatal and newborn health, family planning and an emergency department.  All the national health programs are delivered through this center.


The health delivery system of India is a broad and diversified system that caters to the needs of each citizen of the country. This is also one of the reasons for the country to meet international standards.

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