NGOs, Health and the Urban Poor
Over the decades, the implementation of primary health care in India has taken different forms based on interpretation and context. The huge gap between the demand and supply of health care services has been filled by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of all hues, which provide a range of services, such as service delivery, preventive and rehabilitative health care, training and capacity building, health education and research, resource development, and policy-level advocacy. In the early 1980s, NGOs working in the health sector advocated the demystifying of medicine, and using preventive rather than curative health strategies. The later decades have seen them playing a proactive role in demanding indigenization of health knowledge and practices, forming networks for promoting medical ethics and a patient's charter of rights, focusing on the role of medical professionals in violence and human rights issues and undertaking several campaigns for health rights. These efforts have paved several innovative and participative ways of bringing health rights closer to the community. However, global economic and political systems and policies have added newer burdens and have increased the vulnerabilities of the marginalized. While governments and civil societies are constantly making every effort to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals of removing poverty, illiteracy, ill-health, and underdevelopment, "Health for All" continues to be a distant dream. It is against this backdrop that this book focuses on the health issues of the vulnerable, the marginalized, and the poor in Mumbai, India. The case studies of various NGOs reflect the initiatives, processes, successes, and challenges faced by them in reaching the unreached in need of health care.
Publication Date: 12/1/2009