Nearly one year after its launch, NUHM is yet to take off


‘Survey of vulnerable populations should have been done by now’

Nearly a year after it was launched and funds were released by the Centre, the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) is yet to take off.

The Centre had on January 17 approved the State’s NUHM Programme Implementation Plan (PIP) of Rs. 138.9 crore.

A total of Rs. 114.81 crore which was released in two instalments (Rs. 50.81 crore for the first quarter and Rs. 64 crore for the second) are unspent so far.

The then Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had officially launched the programme in the city on January 21.

Aimed at providing primary healthcare for the poor in cities and towns with a population of over 50,000, NUHM was one of the flagship programmes of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Termed an urban counterpart of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), the NUHM was supposed to cover Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Mysuru, Ullal and Bagalkot in the first phase.

A source in the Planning Team of the State NRHM division said that since its launch, the team hardly had any meetings.

‘Delay in proceedings’

By now, the State should have completed the survey and mapping of vulnerable populations, and identified clusters that needed to be served first under the NUHM. All healthcare facilities managed by the government and urban local bodies should have been assessed to identify gaps in human resources and equipment, among other things, for investment under the NUHM.

“But nothing has started so far. The available money could have been utilised to provide more ventilators in government facilities and the recent case wherein two young lives were lost owing to lack of ventilators in our hospitals could have been avoided,” the source said.

Admitting that implementation of the programme had been delayed considerably, Health Minister U.T. Khader told The Hindu it was because the State did not have a regular NRHM Mission Director for the first six months.

“We had only in-charge officials occupying this post and no one took interest. Now work on the NUHM has started with a regular NRHM Mission Director taking over. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will roll out the NUHM in the first week of January,” he said.

Meeting on Monday

State NRHM Mission Director Atul Kumar Tiwari, who is also in charge of the NUHM, said a meeting of the city’s executive committee was scheduled on Monday. “We have done due diligence on the NUHM plan of the other four cities in Karnataka and things are on track,” he said.

On the delay, he said: “We must realise that NUHM is a new concept and it requires work on so many fronts.”

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 8:26:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/nearly-one-year-after-its-launch-nuhm-is-yet-to-take-off/article6689380.ece

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