The state public health department is all set to launch the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM), the centrally-sponsored flagship scheme for providing a public health delivery system to the urban poor, in Mumbai.
The scheme, which aims to cater to the health needs of urban poor and ignored populations such as the homeless, street children and rag pickers, is meant for towns and cities with a population of above 50,000. About 60% of Mumbai’s population lives in slums and does not have access to organised health services.
The NUHM will be implemented by investing in high-calibre health professionals, appropriate technology through PPP, and health insurance for the urban poor.
“We have sent a proposal to the central government and it should get approved. In Mumbai, not even 5 per cent of the poor is getting proper health facilities, and we need to look into this urgently. Given the challenges of large slums without dispensaries or even sanitation facilities, we have set a different strategy for Mumbai,” said health minister Suresh Shetty.
The challenges he enumerated are high population in slums and lack of space to provide even clinics.
For this, Shetty added, the NUHM will be taking a leaf out of the National Rural Health Mission (NHRM), which envisages USHAs (urban social health activists) who, as in the case of the rural mission, will be trained go into slums, identify problems and take health services to their homes.
The scheme will also look at developing partnerships with communities for a more proactive involvement in planning, implementation, and monitoring of health activities.