Feel the Pulse of Poverty

Hindustan Times, May 2007

3 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2016

See all articles by Siddharth Agarwal

Siddharth Agarwal

Urban Health Resource Centre; Dept. of International Health, JHBSPH

Date Written: May 2, 2007


Having declared health as a major security concern, the World Health Organisation has urged all member-countries to look at the growing interdependence between health and security and invest generously in the heath sector to build a safer future.

It is true that India is progressing but there is another reality that we can’t deny: malnutrition deaths and destitution even in metropolises like Mumbai and Delhi.

Each Indian city has two parts: one half lives in relatively clean and healthy environs while the other lives in congested and overcrowded slums sans basic amenities. This lack of proper infrastructure makes people vulnerable to disease and health risks. Moreover, with limited access to health services, 56.1 per cent of childbirths take place at home in poor urban families without trained attendants. Most migrants can not access medical care due to financial constraints and lack of awareness.

Given this scenario, there is urgent need for a well thought-out strategy that will take health and other services to the urban poor. This is the fastest-growing segment of the population and their numbers are expected to touch 605-618 million between 2021-25.

Cities need this segment of the population: they remove the garbage, clean the streets, pull the rickshaws and do all kinds of not-so-pleasant jobs that makes life so much better for us. What is also little known is that they contribute 40 per cent of the urban GDP!

There are scores of hidden and temporary slums and these never find a place on the government lists. Different slums have different vulnerabilities. For example, slums located near waste disposal sites and open drains are clearly disadvantaged in terms of health and hygiene.

Gender equity is critical as it enables the mother to use information she receives and take decisions regarding her own health and that of the family. Empowered slum communities, particularly women, can ensure better accessibility and supply of services.

Keywords: Urbanisation, slums, urban poor, GDP, cities, gender equity, empowerment

JEL Classification: D1, D10, I00, I1, I10, I12, I18, I19,I3, I30, I31, N35, R00, R10, R19

Suggested Citation

Agarwal, Siddharth, Feel the Pulse of Poverty (May 2, 2007). Hindustan Times, May 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2791769

Siddharth Agarwal (Contact Author)

Urban Health Resource Centre ( email )

136, Humayunpur, First Floor
Safdarjung Enclave
New Delhi, Delhi 110029
911126199771 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://uhrc.in/name-CmodsDownload.html

Dept. of International Health, JHBSPH ( email )

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Baltimore, MD 21205
United States

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