Since 1950-51, health services have been provided specially in rural areas. These services are being developed under Minimum Needs Programme and Revised 20-Point Economic Programme. Presently, the following health institutions have been functioning in our rural areas:

Rural Health-Care System in India

Primary Health Sub- Community Health Multi-purpose Village Health Centres (PHCs) Centres (CHCs) Workers’ Scheme (VHGs) Guide

1. Primary Health Centers (PHCs):


Primary Health Centre is the nucleus of the rural health services. The scheme was initiated during the First Five-Year Plan (1951-56), when 725 primary health centers were setup. By the end of March 1991, there were nearly 22,000 primary health centers/subsidiary health centers.

2. Sub-Centers:

Sub-Centres in rural areas were established to provide family planning services to the rural population. Therefore, these centers form the integral part of the country’s family planning programme. But the centers have been suffering due to limited financial resources and non-availability of trained nurses.

3. Community Health Centers:


Under this scheme, the government is to set up one community health centre for 1, 00,000 populations with 30 beds and specialised medical care services in gynecology, pediatrics, surgery and medicines. By Seventh Five-Year Plan, 2,289 such health centers had been set up.

4. Multi-purpose Workers’ Scheme:

Under this scheme, workers engaged in the programmes for the control and eradication of communicable diseases, are made multi-purpose workers through special training. However, the scheme has made slow progress so far.

5. Village Health Guides (VHGs):


After October 1977, community health workers have been renamed as village health guides. VHGs are suitably trained for health services, measures for maintaining health, hygiene, treatment of common infectious diseases. They are also taught about the indigenous system of medicines and yoga. They promote health consciousness among the rural people.