Health mission to cover 100 cities in phase I

The National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) will cover 100 cities, including the four metros and Bangalore, in the first phase. Of the 429 cities identified for the five-year-mission, which aims at improving the health of the urban poor and other disadvantaged sections, facilitating access to the health system, the remaining 329 will be covered in the second phase. This will benefit 22 crore people, with the focus on a five-crore slum population. All cities with a population above one lakh, State capitals and even district headquarters will be brought under NUHM purview. "This is the second largest health programme that will fill the lacunae created after the implementation of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and take care of the unmet needs in the fast urbanisation process,' Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told The Hindu here on Wednesday. The Rs. 9,159-crore mission, to be launched in a few months, would focus on private participation and insurance. "The scheme is likely to take off much faster due to awareness, presence of non-governmental organisations and better accessibility in the cities.' The Ministry proposed to implement the programme by strengthening the existing systems, rationalising manpower and resources, and filling the gaps in service delivery through private-public partnerships. "The guidelines for administration and operationalisation of the mission will flow from the NRHM which will then be implemented by urban civic bodies,' Dr. Ramadoss said. As far as possible, the NUHM would converge with institutional structures such as the Jawaharlal Nehru National Renewal Mission and the Integrated Child Development Services. The mission would need 4,500 Urban Health Centres acting as focal points; of these 2,500 existing structures would be strengthened, followed by priority to private-public partnership and creation of infrastructure. Each centre would be a referral point with the facilities of out-patient department and maternal healthcare. Accredited Social Health Activists of the NRHM in the cities would be known as Urban Social Health Activists, each catering for a population of 2,000.

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