This regional conference of the World Health Organization (WHO) signifies that the status of public health and primary health care is not up to expectation in South-East Asia and other areas of the world. Why? What went wrong?

Several factors and situations have led to the failures, with a variable mix of general management and technical/professional problems. However, it is pertinent to realize that, in India, large regional and inter-state variations and disparities exist. Hence, a complete set of factors leading to failures is not necessarily valid and consistently applicable for all areas of India. Basically, each state, and even district, should be viewed as a unit for assessment and decentralized planning. This analysis of the "errors" may be relevant and true of some other countries to a varying extent. Let us consider the major issues in the following discussion. [To view this article, please download the PDF.]