Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) officially notified (letter no. IHFW/PMC/375 dated March 7, 2015) the decision to adopt of 60 Mahila Arogya Samitis (slum level Women’s Health Groups) and 42 ASHA (slum-level Link Workers). These Mahila Arogya Samitis (MAS) were formed under the USAID funded, Health of the Urban Poor (HUP) program, implemented by Population Foundation of India and its consortium partner Plan-India in Pune. The HUP program was started in 2009 to test out some approaches (MAS and ASHA in slums), which were part of the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM). Since then, HUP has been working in close collaboration with the central government, the state governments and city officials in Jaipur, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Delhi and Agra) in developing operational frameworks and guidelines for the NUHM components. Subsequent to the launch of NUHM in 2013, HUP has been providing support the Central, state and city governments in rolling out the NUHM components, specifically the community processes like MAS, ASHA and slum level outreach services.
In Pune, these slum level women’s groups (MAS) and the link workers (ASHA), who were trained for building awareness of slum households and tracking of RMNCH, nutrition and WASH services, will continue to do so in future under NUHM. More importantly, the slums under the HUP initiated program will also serve as learning sites for urban community processes for all other cities in Maharashtra state that are in the process of establishing these slum level structures under NUHM.
In Jaipur, Bhubaneswar and Agra too, where HUP had demonstration programmes, respective state governments have agreed to adopt the MAS formed by HUP and the link workers under NUHM. These sites will also be used as learning sites for other cities in the states.