Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu topped in overall performance, while Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh showed the most incremental improvement.
The index ranked the states and Union Territories on the basis of 23 key health outcomes, health systems and service delivery indicators. The outcomes were sourced from Health Management Information Systems (HMIS), National Family Health Survey–4, and data from the health ministry.
The states were segregated into large and small, while Union Territories were given a separate category.
The World Bank, experts in public health and economics and state governments helped the NITI Aayog
draft the index. The index, in turn, will help the Centre assess the impact and reach of various social sector programmes.
According to an official statement, states starting at lower levels of development were at an advantage in notching up incremental progress over states with high scores. And, it was a challenge for the latter to maintain their performance.
Kerala topped in terms of overall performance but had shown the least incremental change. With the state achieving low neo-natal and under-five mortality rates, it did not have much room for further improvement.
According to the index, one-third of the states had registered a decline in their performance in 2016, underlining the need for domain-specific and targeted inventions. For most states, the common challenges included vacancies in key staff, quality accreditation of public health facilities and institutionalisation of a human resources management information system.
Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said the government plans to link the index to all incentives and funds the states receive for health and family welfare.
World Bank Country Director (India) Junaid Ahmad said the bank might shift some of its funding based on the index in the future.
A second part of the report will be released in June, along with a ranking of 730 district hospitals in the country.