It is estimated that by the year 2030, two-thirds of the world population will live in large cities. By 2030 six out of every 10 people will be city dwellers, rising to seven out of every 10 people by 2050 (WHO 2010). In India alone the urban population is expected to rise from 28% to 40% of the total population by 2020 (CELADE 2009). The growth could be attributed to the process of urbanization influenced by the push and pull factors. The major push factors could be linked to decline in job opportunities in agriculture and related fields in rural areas. The pull factors are many in urban areas which include variety of job opportunities. Major problem the rural poor when they migrate to urban areas face is finding a safe place of habitation. This poses a major threat to health of the people live in poor living conditions. The other problems add to their misery are the lack of basic amenities and awareness about urban norms of waste disposal.
SOCHARA has been involved with urban health work since its inception. We being a technical support group for Community Health and Public Health always supported the initiatives of both NGOs and Government. Our contribution to urban health was in the area of policy, advocacy, research and training. Early involvement of urban health work began with Dr. Mani Kalliath who trained the community health workers for Women’s Voice a Bangalore based NGO focuses its work with a rights perspective. When the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) The grater city corporation of Bangalore started the India Population Project-VIII, we trained the medical officers of urban health centers in management and ethics. We were involved in the feasibility study of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) by the BBMP. We also supported the RNTCP towards building NGO partnership for strengthening the implementation at community level. SOCHARA contributed towards focusing urban health in the state health policy and the Task Force on Health.
We are more involved with NGOs working in urban areas which included, AVAS, Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA) Carmelite Missionaries, CIEDS. FEDINA Navachetana, Karnataka Kolegiri Nivasigala Samyuktha Sanghatane (KKNSS) Navjeevan, Rag picker Development Society (REDS) Vimochana and Women’s’ Voice. The focus of work through this NGO network is in addressing the Social Determinants of Health including strengthening the public health system. In the year 2000 we initiated the Bangalore city chapter of the people’s health movement known as (Janaarogya Andolana Bangalore Urban (JABU).In the early nineties we enabled the forum of street and working children (a network of about 20 NGOs) to better understand the health and psychosocial problem faced by street children. Later in early 2000 we introduced the Community Health Approach to Tackle Alcoholism (CHATA) and Life Skill Education for addressing the teen challenges. Recently we were engaged in the planning of implementation of the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM).