Healthcare Equity in Urban India

  • 22 Nov 2021

Recently, a report “Healthcare equity in urban India” was released by Azim Premji University in collaboration with 17 regional NGOs across India.

The report explored health vulnerabilities and inequalities in cities in India. It also looked at the availability, accessibility and cost of healthcare facilities, and possibilities in future-proofing services in the next decade.

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  • Rising Urban Population: A third of India’s population lives in urban areas, with this segment seeing a rapid growth from about 18% (1960) to 28.53% (2001) and 34% (in 2019).
  • Urban Poor: Close to 30% of people living in urban areas are poor.
  • Life Expectancy: Among the poorest, life expectancy is lower by 9.1 years (men) and 6.2 years (women) from the corresponding figures for the richest in urban areas.
  • Urban Health Governance: Besides disproportionate disease burden on the poor, there is chaotic urban health governance - the multiplicity of healthcare providers both within and outside the Government without coordination are challenges to urban health governance.
  • Financial Burden: There is a heavy financial burden on the poor and less investment in healthcare by urban local bodies.


  • Strengthening community participation and governance;
  • Building a comprehensive and dynamic database on the health and nutrition status, including comorbidities of the diverse, vulnerable populations;
  • Strengthening healthcare provisioning through the National Urban Health Mission, especially for primary healthcare services; and putting in place policy measures to reduce the financial burden of the poor.
  • Better mechanism for coordinated public healthcare services and better governed private healthcare institutions as urbanisation is happening rapidly, the number of the urban poor is only expected to increase.