May 23, 2011 – One program in Pakistan is attempting to combat urban poverty, the root of many Pakistanis’ problems, by providing affordable health insurance. Special correspondent Saima Mohsin reports from the nation’s largest city, Karachi.
An excerpt from the transcript: The private sector serves nearly 70 percent of Pakistan’s population. Yet, out of the estimated 40 million low-income families here, 99.3 percent of them don’t have health insurance.
The introduction of Naya Jeevan in Pakistan hopes to change that. This new program is simple and affordable for employers, sponsors and beneficiaries. The equivalent of just $2.50 a month provides access to private health care and, crucially, regular health checks for contagious or infectious diseases as a preventive measure for a country that is still battling polio, malaria and hepatitis.
And hundreds of local companies, restaurants and multinational corporations are signing up for the plan for their low-income employees.
Link to podcast, transcript and video: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/world/jan-june11/pakistanhealth_05-23.html
Sept 16, 2010 – NEW DELHI: To deal with the emerging challenges of urbanisation and the non-communicable diseases, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has initiated the process for launching the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) on the lines of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
According to sources, the NUHM would be launched in 2011. It was after the success of the NRHM, the health mission for cities and towns was conceptualised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The NUHM would focus on primary health care services for the people, whereas secondary and tertiary care medical needs of the urban poor would be taken care of through a system of health insurance. Preventive, diagnostic and treatment facilities for different diseases would also be integrated into the basic package.
The NUHM is aimed at providing accessible and affordable healthcare to the 22 crore people living in the urban slums in 429 cities. The mission would also forge partnerships with the Ministry of Urban Development which is implementing a flagship programme for improving the basic infrastructure in the urban slums. It would take full advantage of the civic bodies in implementing health programmes.
Since the nationwide launch of the NUHM will take a few more months, the ministry has identified 33 cities with one million population or more for mobile facilities to carry out diagnostic tests for diabetes and hypertension and linking those in need of treatment to hospital facilities for free.
Experts meet to fine-tune insurance for the deprived
New Delhi – The Capital’s urban poor will soon be able to afford healthcare up to Rs 1.5 lakh without paying a paisa. Set up as a registered society, the Delhi Sanjeevni Trust met for the first time on Wednesday to work out the finer details of the programme.
The ambitious insurance scheme aims to enroll the entire city’s population — starting with BPL families — within the next six months.
To put together the best health insurance scheme for people from the Economically Weaker Sections, public health experts from all spheres have been brought together as trustees of the Board. They include specialists like Dr Srinath Reddy, President of Public Health Foundation of India, Dr Ajit Nagpal, Chairman of Batra Hospital, Som Mittal, President of The National Association of Software and Service Companies and Dr Shyama Nagarajan, health specialist with the World Bank.
“This is a welcome initiative from the Delhi government, which is trying to ensure that economic barriers do not distance people from the essential healthcare,” said Reddy.
“The objective is to facilitate universal healthcare though third party financing mechanism,” said Dr Nagpal. “We are aiming to provide insurance for the city’s population but will be starting with the BPL families first.”
The health department is currently working on a Cabinet note, which will be tabled at the forthcoming Cabinet meeting.
The trust — headed by a chief executive officer — is modelled on the Rajiv Arogyashri Health Insurance Scheme run by the Andhra Pradesh government. Under it, the BPL beneficiaries can be treated at hospitals without making any payment there for procedures covered under the scheme. The same is the case for diagnostics, if eventually the patient does not need surgery or therapy. Plus, the hospitals have to conduct at least one free medical camp a month, taking advanced evaluation to the doorstep of patient.
The Delhi government’s ambitious project to provide low-cost healthcare was put on hold in 2005 and 2007.
Pune – For the first time in the city, a health insurance scheme for slum dwellers has been proposed as part of the services to be delivered to the ‘urban poor’ under the National Urban Health Mission. A series of workshops which were held in Pune before the terror attacks in Mumbai had had experts from municipal corporations and municipal councils across the state participating in how to provide better services to the urban poor.
The NUHM — which is modeled along the lines of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) — is aimed at providing basic health care facilities for the urban population- especially urban slum dwellers. Free of cost health care facilities will be available under the NUHM, Pune Municipal Corporation’s City Family Welfare bureau chief Dr Anjali Sabne said.
While the NUHM has to be officially launched in the country, states have been given guidelines and civic officials in their respective cities are preparing an action plan to ensure services to the urban poor. Initially in the first phase 100 cities in the country will launch NUHM. This includes Pune. Forty per cent of the city’s population lives in slums and according to Dr Sabne at least 8-10 lakh are slum dwellers.
The PMC has already put in place an insurance scheme for senior citizens and as part of the NUHM will include slum dwellers in its fold. The slum dwellers will have to pay a minimal amount and via the insurance model can avail health care facilities at private hospitals. “We are still in the planning stages,’’says Sabne.
As the NRHM has set up Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA’s) at rural places, there will be an Urban Social Health Activist (USHA) at each urban centre. One USHA will be appointed for a population of 1,500 and initially anganwadi workers will be roped in as USHAs, says Sabne. There are 996 anganwadis in the city and we will train these workers, she added.
As a beginning though the PMC has shifted some of the staff at its hospitals to far flung areas and start Out Patient Departments. According to Sabne OPDs have been started at Mohammedwadi, Vishrantwadi, Kalas and Dias Plot slum areas. Staff from Kamala Nehru hospital have been shifted for the purpose.
Dr Ashok Ladda, joint director, State Family Welfare Bureau who has additional charge of the NUHM said that while the budget for the programme has to be announced , copies of guidelines have been distributed to corporations. The main focus is the provide primary health care to the people in urban areas. “Hence we are asking the corporations to map the cities and identify the population that requires such services so that urban health posts can be created. People staying at construction sites and unauthorised slum areas will also be included in the programme,” he said.