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Mohalla Clinics: Taking healthcare to doorsteps of poor

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New Delhi: Until a month ago, Neelam would spend Rs.70 on travelling in a cycle-rickshaw to get her blood sugar checked at a diagnostic center five km away from her place of residence for Rs 50. Now, she can get the test done for free at Delhi’s first Mohalla (neighbourhood) Clinic – a two-room modern basic healthcare center started by the AAP government in a west Delhi slum with a population of over 12,000. 

“This place had no chemist’s shop, let alone a primary health centre. Having the Mohalla Clinic here is such a relief,” Neelam, who is in her 40s and lives in the Peeragarhi Relief Camp, said.

Aiming to provide basic healthcare to the poor in the capital, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government plans to open 1,000 Mohalla Clinics in slum clusters and poorer neighborhoods in outlying areas of Delhi, which will also ease the burden on over-crowded hospitals. The AAP government had earmarked Rs 3,138 crore for the health sector in its maiden Rs.41,129 crore budget presented in June.

The first such unit has already become popular among the residents of the settlement inhabited largely by migrant worker families who live on small and uncertain incomes. The compact, modern structure with lively, colorful exteriors is a far cry from what the expression “government primary health center” brings to mind.

A covered verandah leads to a roughly 25 feet x 15 feet room that has been divided into two. The first comprises the reception and digital registration area, testing lab and pharmacy while the other is for the doctor. The clinic is air-conditioned and equipped with all that one would expect in a private doctor’s facility, as also an LED TV and a refrigerator.

The clinics will be set up in habitations of sizable numbers like unauthorised colonies, rehabilitation colonies and urban villages largely inhabited by the poor that don’t have access to private doctors. Some 50 basic tests will be conducted at each clinic while basic medicines will also be given out for free.

“Every day 180-190 patients visit the clinic. They don’t have to go to hospitals for minor ailments,” Alka Choudhary, the doctor at the center, said.

Long queues of patients can be seen outside the center which runs from 8 a.m to 2 p.m. Besides a doctor, the center has a pharmacist, a lab technician and a trained midwife.

“The infrastructure is so good that the work environment becomes conducive. You don’t feel tired,” Choudhary said. She earlier worked at a Delhi government Primary Healthcare Center (PHC).

Interestingly, Choudhary also doubles up as a counselor.

“These people are poor and are not aware of their rights. Many a time women come here complaining of domestic violence that they have faced. We have guided them to go through the proper channel (for redressal),” she added.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain said that the AAP government had first studied the health systems of other countries.

“We came up with this concept only after studying the health systems of the US, Brazil, Switzerland and Cuba,” Jain said, adding that the facility was cost-effective and easy-to-maintain due to its optimum size.

“The cost of building one Mohalla Clinic is between Rs.15 lakh and Rs.20 lakh, while a PHC requires Rs.3 crore to Rs.4 crore,” Jain said.

“We want middle-class people to visit the Mohalla Clinics. We will also increase facilities at these centers. For instance, mobile applications will enable people take appointment without standing in a queue,” he added.

“The ultimate aim is to improve the health infrastructure. Common people visit government hospitals for minor ailments that reduce their efficiency. Once they start coming to Mohalla Clinics, the burden on hospitals will reduce,” he said.

(IANS)

 

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  • Jagdish Kumar Bhutani

    This is an excellent concept and should be able to cover more than 80 percent of insignificant/common ailments affecting people. The health EDUCATION must be made a part of such services, as it is productive when it is emphasised at the time of illness (like it should be told that it has resulted from bad hygiene if patient is suffering from loose-motions or skin boils etc. and seasonal respiratory infections and viral infections have self recovering features unless they are obstructed by ‘Jhola Chhap’ doctors) It shall lead to to better health seeking behaviour next time and definitely decrease the work load on the speciality hospitals.

  • Jagdish Kumar Bhutani

    This is an excellent concept and should be able to cover more than 80 percent of insignificant/common ailments affecting people. The health EDUCATION must be made a part of such services, as it is productive when it is emphasised at the time of illness (like it should be told that it has resulted from bad hygiene if patient is suffering from loose-motions or skin boils etc. and seasonal respiratory infections and viral infections have self recovering features unless they are obstructed by ‘Jhola Chhap’ doctors) It shall lead to to better health seeking behaviour next time and definitely decrease the work load on the speciality hospitals.

Next Story

Saw AAP MLAs Assaulting Chief Secretary, CM’s Advisor Tells Police

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement

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The AAP had denied the charges of assault and said that the Chief Secretary was making allegations at the behest of the BJP. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s adviser V. K. Jain on Thursday told police that he saw AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal “physically assaulting” Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, according to Jain’s statement recorded by the Delhi Police.

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement.

On Tuesday, the Chief Secretary had alleged that he was beaten up by the two AAP MLAs in the presence of Kejriwal at the Chief Minister’s residence on Monday night, where he had been called for an emergency meeting.

ALSO READ: The assault on Chief Secretary exposes the double standards of AAP government

Police later arrested Khan and Jarwal and they were sent to judicial custody till Thursday.

According to the Chief Secretary, the Chief Minister’s adviser had called him over the phone and asked him to come to the Chief Minister’s residence for the meeting and Jain was also present there.

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According to the statement, Jain also saw that the Chief Secretary’s spectacles had fallen to the ground and the Chief Secretary picked them up and left the room. Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, the Delhi Police submitted Jain’s statement at a city court, which said that Jain had gone to the washroom during the meeting and as he came out he saw the two AAP MLAs “physically assaulting” the Chief Secretary.

The statement was recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC, which means that it was recorded in front of the police and not a magistrate.

Sources told IANS that Jain later recorded his statement in front of a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC.

“The statement under section 164 was later recorded with the magistrate in front a camera, without the presence of police. In that statement also he (Jain) has said that he saw the two MLAs physically assaulting the Chief Secretary,” a police officer privy to the case told IANS.

The officer said that the statement under section 164 has also been submitted to the court.

Jain was first questioned on Wednesday morning and then again on Thursday and his statement was recorded on Thursday.

The change in Jain’s statement that the AAP was referring to was from a “question and answer” with Jain recorded by police after questioning him on Wednesday.

According to a copy of Wednesday’s “question and answer” recorded by police, when asked whether Jain saw the Chief Secretary being manhandled, he replied that he had gone to the washroom in between the meeting and he could not say what happened during that time.

“By putting pressure on him (Jain) throughout the day (Thursday) and by threatening him, police has forced him to change his statement,” AAP MP Sanjay Singh told the media here on Thursday.

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Singh said that the whole issue was a conspiracy to “bring down the Delhi government” and to “defame the AAP”. Wikimedia Commons

 

“How is it that the same Jain who emphatically said yesterday that he witnessed no assault during the entire time that he was present there has now claimed otherwise?” he asked.

Singh said that AAP MLAs were being arrested over an alleged assault of which there was no proof.

“But on the other hand, despite there being video footage of officials assaulting Delhi Cabinet Minister Imran Hussain, there is no action taken against the guilty by the Delhi Police,” the AAP MP said.

The court on Thursday sent the two AAP MLAs, arrested on charges of assaulting the Chief Secretary, to judicial custody for 14 days.

ALSO READ: Delhi Chief Secretary row: AAP MLA arrested

Orders on the bail pleas of the two AAP MLAs and also on their police custody will be pronounced on Friday.

Meanwhile, scores of Delhi government employees across the city observed a five-minute silence outside their respective offices as a protest against the alleged assault on the Chief Secretary.

The IAS Association said that officers would continue the protest every day, till steps are taken to “ensure safety and dignity” of government staff in the city.

The AAP also hit out at Lt Governor Anil Baijal by stating that he was “working as a BJP agent” and demanded action against those involved in “manhandling and beating up” Hussain and his aide at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday. (IANS)