| Healthy future
Guwahati, April 11: Homeless people, street vendors, railway and bus station coolies, street children and construction workers in the city will be covered under a comprehensive national healthcare scheme within this year.
Dispur has begun working on the scheme, to be executed under the National Urban Health Mission, which the Centre wants to implement under the 12th five year plan.
An Assam government official told The Telegraph that though the National Urban Health Mission would cover the entire city’s population irrespective of their status, the underprivileged ones living in slums and the homeless will get special attention.
“There are more than 10 lakh people in the city and among them a major chunk belongs to the urban poor and other vulnerable sections which are still deprived of basic healthcare amenities. Under the new mission, the government will provide modern healthcare facilities to the urban poor living in the slums and other vulnerable sections like homeless people, street children, bus and railway station coolies and daily wage-earners,” the official said.
The source said though people living in slums suffer from diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, the health department remains unaware of it.
According to initial plans, the government will set up an urban primary health centre for every 50,000 to 60,000 people under the National Urban Health Mission.
At the community level, services will be provided to the slums with the help of urban social health activists, each of whom will cover 200 households, while the Mahila Aarogya Samiti will cover 100 households.
“Under the mission, secondary and tertiary-level healthcare services will be provided through public or empanelled private providers. Separate arrangements will be made at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital and Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital to provide healthcare facilities to the urban poor and other vulnerable groups in the city. Private healthcare institutions in the city will have to play their part in effective implementation of the National Urban Health Mission,” the official said.
People living on the city’s outskirts like Sonapur and Chandrapur are vulnerable to diseases like malaria and kala azar because of poor living conditions.
“Even though the areas like Sonapur and Chandrapur were partially covered under the National Rural Health Mission, the state health department would intensify its healthcare efforts in these areas under the National Urban Health Mission. Mini hospitals or healthcare centres are expected to be set up at Sonapur and Chandrapur,” the source said.