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Times of India
16 January 2012
By Umesh Isalkar
Pune India

The city has an estimated 14 lakh people living in slums, mostly deprived of basic medical facilities, but the civic body's health scheme for urban poor has benefited just 4,000 people this year. The health officials say this figure is much better when compared to the previous year when just 699 people benefited.

4,000 Benefit From Civic Body’s Health Scheme For Poor

The health benefit scheme of the Pune municipal corporation (PMC) can be availed of by families living below the poverty line (BPL) with an annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh. The scheme was started on January 26, 2010. Accordingly, the civic body pays medical bills up to Rs 1 lakh for treatment in listed private hospitals.

“The financial allocation for the scheme in 2011–12 is Rs 7 crore of which Rs 3.5 crore has been utilized till date, benefiting 3,990 slumdwellers who had heart diseases, kidney problems or other ailments needing tertiary care services, not available in municipal corporation–run hospitals,” said city health chief S T Pardeshi.

In 2010–2011, only Rs 1 crore was spent while the total allocation was Rs 10 crore. However, no one has an answer to why such an ambitious scheme has failed to reach an estimated 14 lakh slumdwellers in the city.

The beneficiaries took treatment for cancer, neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, joint replacement surgery, severe burns, advanced neonatology services, palliative, and other complex medical and surgical interventions.

As many as 44 private hospitals in the city have been designated to provide medical care to the urban poor under the scheme. “We are making efforts to popularise the scheme and are confident that by the end of this financial year we will take the scheme to maximum slumdwellers,” Pardeshi said. He also stressed on the need for utilizing mass media like television, radio, newspapers, magazines, handbills and utility bills for popularising the facility. “It will be a great help if families inform their domestic helps about the health scheme.”

Tell who? Who benefits?

A person possessing a yellow ration card or with an annual income certificate of less than Rs 1 lakh from the tehsildar or proof of residing in the slum, slum tax receipt or photo pass of residing in slum Carry these documents

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