The Union Cabinet Wednesday finally approved the Rs 22,507-crore Urban Health Mission. Though the proposal is in line with the Prime Ministers announcement of a unified National Health Mission last year,a few paragraphs on public-private partnerships in health care has been added.
The addition is a significant victory for the Planning Commission which has been pushing for it,though the Health Ministry had its reservations. The 12th Plan document too talks of the need for PPPs in health care.
The mission aims to improve health care access for urban poor through a mix of public institutions and PPPs at all levels,including private practitioners in immunisation drives and contracts with private facilities for surgeries. Partnerships with railway hospitals and public sector company hospitals form the core strategies of UHM. The proposal says that if the resources of potential private partners are tapped optimally,it would go a long way to lowering the governments burden. Private facilities will play a key role where the public sector coverage is inadequate. The facilities would be reimbursed at pre-determined rates.