Life expectancy lower for urban poor

• Azim Premji University in collaboration with 17 regional NGOs across India has recently released a report titled ‘Health Care Equity in Urban India’.

• The report explores health vulnerabilities and inequalities in cities in India. It also looks at the availability, accessibility and cost of healthcare facilities, and possibilities in future-proofing services in the next decade.

Highlights of the report:

• The report noted that life expectancy among the poorest is lower by 9.1 years and 6.2 years among men and women, respectively, compared to the richest in urban areas.

• A third of India’s people now live in urban areas, with this segment seeing rapid growth from about 18% (1960) to 28.53% (2001) to 34% (in 2019). Close to 30% of people living in urban areas are poor.

• The report, besides finding disproportionate disease burden on the poor, also pointed to chaotic urban health governance, where the multiplicity of healthcare providers both within and outside the government without coordination challenges to urban health governance.

• The other key findings include a heavy financial burden on the poor, and less investment in healthcare by urban local bodies.

• The report calls for strengthening community participation and governance; building a comprehensive and dynamic database on the health and nutrition status, including co-morbidities of the diverse, vulnerable populations; strengthening healthcare provisioning through the National Urban Health Mission, especially for primary healthcare services; and putting in place policy measures to reduce the financial burden of the poor.

• It also advocates for a better mechanism for coordinated public healthcare services and better governed private healthcare institutions.

• It added that urban healthcare has received relatively less research and policy attention.

Mains Paper 2: National

Prelims level: Life expectancy

Mains level: Issues associated with the urban population

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