SHRIDHAR SHARMA SANTOSH S. KACKER B. V. ADKOLI
India's Constitution envisages the establishment of a new social order, and it directs the individual states to bring about improvement in the public health as one of their primary duties. Health is a national objective, but items like population control, medical education, and drug control are under both the central and state governments. As such, constitutionally, the responsibility for health care is at the state level, while national health policy formulation and overall coordination of the work of the state health departments is overseen by the central union government.
The health structure in India has three main levels: central, state, and local. At the central level is the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW). The Directorate General of Health Services is the technical wing of this ministry. The MHFW is headed by a cabinet minister and has two departments: Health and Family Welfare. The Department of Health is headed by a Secretary to the Government of India, and the Director General of Health Services acts as advisor to the government on both medical and public health matters. At the national level, a Central Council of Health and Family Welfare was set up in 1952 as an advisory body to consider and recommend broad guidelines of policy health in all its aspects.
India includes 25 states and 7 union territories. At each state and union territory level, a Ministry of Health headed by a minister looks after health and family welfare. All the states have established Directorates of Health, and some states also have separate Directorates of Medical Education. Each state is divided into districts, of which there are approximately 460. The district is the principal unit of administration in India. These districts vary widely in size and population. In each district there is a district hospital and a district health officer who is in overall charge of all elements of district health administration. The district is