Health department, BBMP at loggerheads over scheme

Health department, BBMP at loggerheads over scheme

They blame each other for failure of a Centrally sponsored programme

While the department has accused the Palike of failing to create adequate awareness and part with funds for the screening camp to record prevalence of non-communicable diseases in urban slums, the BBMP has shot back, complaining that it was informed about the funding much later into the project.

Under the direction of the Union Health Ministry, the camps were conducted in 327 slums to record the extent of hypertension, diabetes, alcohol and tobacco addiction in the slums of Bangalore.


The project was launched last October by then mayor of BBMP Nataraj. Besides the BBMP, the Health department had roped in eight medical colleges in the City to carry out the screening.

Despite the camps being extended for a month, none of the colleges could finish their target. Poor response and lack of funds saw the programme winding up in January this year.

The Central government’s directive clearly states that it would support a third of the expenses by supplying glucometres and strips and that the State health department and BBMP would foot a third of the cost each.

Cost matters

“This was a government-level discussion, which was clearly written in the programme guidelines. The BBMP was aware that it had to bear a third of the cost,” said Dr V D Palekar, additional director, NRHM.

Refuting the NRHM stand, BBMP chief medical officer Dr L T Gayathri said the Health department had initially promised to provide the entire funds, but later backtracked.

“We had told them that we could only provide manpower and had no extra budget for the programme. They told us about the money we would have to spend much later,” she said. Even link workers were not paid honorarium by the department, she remarked.  


Interestingly, while the Health department states that the Central government had directed them to discontinue the programme after two months, an official from the Union Health ministry said they had sent no written notification.

“The states have not achieved the targets and the programme has been progressing sluggishly. There also seems to be confusion over budget and lack of clear direction on the part of the State,” the official said.

Data on non-communicable diseases

Funded by the Union Health Ministry, the camps are set to be launched in five cities, of which only four — Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Bangalore — carried out the project.

The aim of the project was to collect data on the prevalence of non-communicable diseases for allotting funds for the upcoming National Urban Health Mission initiative.
The camps were conducted in 327 slums notified by the BBMP and were to cover four lakh people over the age of 30.

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