SLUMS are growing seamlessly with one-third of the urban people already living in them. This brings to the fore a pressing public health issue but which comes lower down the conventional order of priorities. Because it is pitted against weightier competing concerns, not necessarily all of which with a human face.
Actually, caring for the urban poor should have been one of the major, most critical areas for government's attention, allocation and investment given that it concerns health and services of a critical mass of people society depends so heavily on, almost existentially.
The government has to exercise its benevolence towards them, taking them under the wings of an inclusive development catering to their special needs. More so because people in the country-side may have access to rural health complexes, howsoever underperforming they may be; but the urban poor have nothing to fall back on. Basically, their utter lack of housing, water and sanitation contribute to their dire health conditions.
Most of them being earning members, daily wage earners keep persisting with ill-health. Sick and yet they cannot afford the costs of treatment. There are facilities for middle or lower middle class people but none for the urban poor. Public hospitals, too not readily accessible to them. Hence, the compelling need for having separate healthcare units or community clinics dispersed around pockets of slum concentrations. The costs must be minimal.
We suggest with all due emphasis that a poor-friendly health insurance scheme must be operated for the urban poor.