Urban health mission to be launched in City soon

The National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) will be launched in Bangalore on a pilot basis in the coming months.  

The State Health department has already prepared the Project Implementation Plan (PIP) for Bangalore City and submitted it to the Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare. With the Union Budget for the year 2013-2014 tabled on Thursday, the urban health mission launch process is expected to be accelerated.

A lion’s share of Rs 21,239 crore of the total budget allocation for the National Health Mission, combining both rural and the proposed urban health mission, was announced on Thursday. 

Besides Bangalore, the urban health mission will be launched in Bhubaneswar simultaneously and extended to other cities in a phased manner. NUHM was mainly proposed to cater to the health needs of the urban poor, specifically of the migrant population.

 The State Health department had prepared a Rs 250-crore PIP with 25 per cent contribution from the State government. The plan includes setting up an urban health centre in line with the Public Health Centre (PHC) in every ward (198 wards), which would cater to the poor free of cost.

 The plan also talks about creation of zonal hospitals in all the 28 constituencies in Bangalore City, offering secondary and tertiary level treatment to the poor. Thirdly, the plan envisages community participation at the ward and zonal level.

 On Thursday, Jana Arogya Andolana Karnataka (JAAK), a peoples’ health movement network had a public meeting with the government representatives and questioned the government on why they were not consulted before preparing the PIP. 

Incidents of lack of accessible health facilities were narrated. N Sudha, convener, JAAK, said that people need to ensure the proposed plan includes preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative approach catering to the urban poors’ health. 

“Although there are many big government hospitals in the City such as Victoria, Vanivilas and Bowring, the user fee and other charges collected in these hospitals are as good as those in private hospital. This way, the universal health care approach cannot be implemented if the poor still struggle to pay for health care,” Sudha added.

Reacting to the budget allocation for health sector, M Madan Gopal, principal secretary, health and family welfare, welcomed the move. 

“We have prepared the draft PIP and submitted to the health ministry. Now, since the budget for the National Health Mission is announced, a more strategic planning can be carried out.  We will be meeting the officials of the health ministry on Friday and hope we receive guidelines in launching the urban health mission very soon,” he added.

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