At least 40 of the health centres will be commissioned in the added areas of the Corporation

The city may soon get 140 modernised urban primary health centres.

Proposed under the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM), the centres are likely to emerge as stepping stones to evening clinics that will offer free healthcare to women and children.

At least 40 of the centres will be commissioned in the added areas of the Corporation — Tiruvottiyur, Manali, Madhavaram, Ambattur, Valsaravakkam, Alandur, Perungudi and Sholinganalur.

The evening clinics will benefit more than 18 lakh residents belonging to the weaker sections in the 2,500 slums in the city.

“Hundreds of residents are forced to spend thousands on primary healthcare in private hospitals. People from Madhavaram have to go as far as Anna Nagar for medical help in the evening. Evening clinics and primary health centres will be a boon to poor residents,” said M. Kannadasan, councillor of a ward in Madhavaram.

The Chennai Corporation identified gaps in the existing public healthcare system with a baseline survey.

Some of the problems identified in the city included inequitable spatial distribution of facilities with multiple service providers, unsuitable timings and distance from urban poor areas and overload on tertiary healthcare institutions.

The Union Cabinet has already approved the Rs. 22,507-crore NUHM project that seeks to focus on the urban poor.

The scheme will be introduced as a sub-mission under the National Health Mission. The mission will be implemented in 779 cities and towns, each with a population of more than 50,000, and cover over 7.75 crore people in the country.

The Centre will fund 75 per cent of the mission and the rest will be borne by the State. The Chennai Corporation will be fully involved in the commissioning of the primary healthcare facilities in 426 sq. km. of the city.

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