According to a recent report, 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.

Important points:

  • 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.
  • It was released recently by Azim Premji University in collaboration with 17 regional NGOs across India.
  • A third of India’s people now live in urban areas, with this segment seeing a rapid growth from about 18% (1960) 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 a chaotic urban health governance, where the multiplicity of healthcare providers both within and outside the government without coordination are challenges to urban health governance.
  • A heavy financial burden on the poor, and less investment in healthcare by urban local bodies is also a major challenge.
  • Strengthen community participation and governance.
  • Build 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.
  • Put in place policy measures to reduce the financial burden of the poor.
  • A better mechanism for coordinated public healthcare services and better governed private healthcare institutions.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to attention the need for a robust and resourced healthcare system. Addressing this now will benefit the most vulnerable and offer critical services to city dwellers across income groups.


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