National health mission for urban poor unveiled

Bangalore, Jan 20: Indian Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad Monday launched the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) here to provide health security to the urban poor, amounting to about 200 crore people.

“The mission envisages setting up health check-up infrastructure and create manpower for the welfare of the poor dwelling in cities and towns on the lines of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM),” he said on the occasion.

The central government will bear 80 percent of the cost of implementing the programme in 779 urban areas with over 50,000 population across the country by 2015.

“Primary health centres, sub-centres, referral units will be strengthened in urban areas and manned by auxiliary nurse midwifes (ANMs). Mobile health check-up vans will visit these centres with two doctors, two nurses and a pharmacist,” Azad said.

About 200 million people in urban areas will have access to free healthcare.

Lauding the central government’s initiative to provide healthcare to the needy, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said focus should be on creating awareness towards prevention than cure.

“Urban rich have access to healthcare facilities but for the urban poor, medical expense is beyond their means, as 17 percent of them live in slums and majority of them are migrant labourers, rag pickers and marginalised sections of society,” he noted.

State Health Minister U.T. Khader rolled out the ambulance service “Nagu Magu” dedicated to shift pregnant women to the nearest hospital and take them back to home after delivery safely. About 10 ambulances will be operational across Bangalore from Tuesday for the service.

“We have submitted to the central health ministry a project plan to implement the mission in Bangalore, Bagalkot, Mangalore, Mysore and Ullal in the coastal area at a cost of Rs.132 crore. About 50 health kiosks will be up across Bangalore under the mission,” Khader said.

IANS