Centre to open 51K hospitals, health centres

7.75 cr people in 779 cities to benefit from the scheme

Centre to open 51K hospitals, health centres

 National Urban Health Mission (NUHM), the Centre’s flagship scheme to provide better healthcare to urban poor in the country, was launched nationwide here on Monday.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said Rs 1.11 lakh crore had been set aside for the scheme. The Centre aims to open 51,000 district hospitals, sub-district hospitals and community health centres under NUHM. Besides, more primary health centres (PHCs) would be established and the existing ones upgraded, Azad said after launching the scheme at the Freedom Park.

He further said the NUHM would be set up in 779 cities in the country, benefiting 7.75 crore people in listed and unlisted slums.

Asha (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers would be engaged for every 200-500 families and a ‘mahila arogya samithi’ formed for every 50-100 households. Besides, one auxillary nurse midwife would be engaged for every 10,000-12,000 urban families.

Azad, along with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, formally inaugurated the over 50 health kiosks/booths to be set up in five urban areas in the State Karnataka.

The guidelines for NUHM were also released on the occasion. Siddaramaiah said that in the wake of increasing migration of people from villages to town and cities, the growing healthcare needs of the urban poor had to be met and NUHM was a step in that direction.
Anuradha Gupta, national director of NUHM, explained that the scheme allowed states to have tailor-made plans based on the consolidated data about their population and the number of urban poor.

“It will allow the states to make plans based on their requirement as the needs of each state vary,” she said.

“Our main aim is to reduce the ‘out-of-pocket expenditure’ of the urban poor,” she said, adding that about one third of the urban population was poor. “Once they have moved out of their villages, the rural population struggles for livelihood. The health expenditure only pushes them further down,” she said.

The urban poor faced such problems as acute shortage of food, lack of social security and inadequate nutrition.

Free AC ambulance

‘Nagu Magu’, the free AC ambulance facility for women who have just delivered babies, has also been launched.

“We see pregnant women coming to hospitals in cities and towns for delivery and later going back to their villages by tractors and trucks. It is a sad situation,” said U T Khader, Minister for Health and Family Welfare.

The AC ambulances would drop the mother and newborn back home safely, he added.

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