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10 July 2012

Urban poor of 779 cities will benefit from the scheme, which will be launched on the pattern of the NRHM in the next 3 months

Ranchi/New Delhi: Urban poor may soon look forward for a dedicated health delivery system. In keeping with its Budget promise, the Central government is all set to launch the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) in the next few months.

Framed on the pattern of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) launched in 2005 to address the health challenges in villages, the NUHM would strive for providing upgraded healthcare facilities for the poor living in urban areas.

The Union Health Ministry has identified as many as 779 cities with over 50,000 populations to launch the scheme in the next three months.

To ensure smooth implementation of the project, the Union government has already sanctioned huge sum for strengthening infrastructure in government hospitals in urban areas.

A joint Secretary rank officer of the Union Health Ministry, who was in Ranchi recently, said the Ministry would soon be sending the revised Expenditure Finance Commission (EFC) to address the concerns raised by the Planning Commission.

After its approval by the Plan Panel, the proposal would be forwarded to the Cabinet for approval. "If everything goes as per the plan, NUHM would be launched in the next three months," he asserted.

Earlier, the Centre was contemplating extension of NRHM to urban areas. However, the Planning Commission objected to it in view of different nature of delivery system the scheme required for both rural and urban areas. "The new EFC has been prepared to address that perception the Planning Commission," the Joint Secretary clarified.

The NUSM which envisages USHAs (Urban Social Health Activists) on the lines of ASHAs in villages is important considering urban population is the fastest growing segment of the country’s population.

As per the provisional census of 2011, rural areas contribute 68.84 per cent of total population, which is down from 72.19 percent in 2001, against 31.16 percent of urban populace.

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