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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)

 

  • 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.

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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.

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30 Doorstep Services Offered By Delhi Government AAP

Delhi government offers 30 more doorstep services

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AAP brings 70 doorstep services for delhi residents. IANS

People living in Delhi can now avail 30 more services at their doorstep, including adding members in ration card, paying the motor vehicle tax and getting a DTC pass, taking the total number of such services to 70. The second phase of the doorstep delivery of public services, the official launch of which is yet to take place, has been rolled out.

Residents can dial 1076 and get the service by paying Rs 50 extra, an official from Delhi’s Administrative Reforms told IANS. The new services include booking a tour package through Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corp.

In September 2018, the Delhi government had launched the doorstep delivery of 40 public services to make things easy for the common man. In the first phase, people got certificates of marriage, caste, domicile, income, births and deaths among others at their doors.

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Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal plans to offer 100 services delivered at people’s doorsteps. IANS

Driving license, new water or sewer connection and disconnection were also provided under the scheme which functions between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. through a ‘Mobile Sahayak’. The government had planned to roll out more services by February but they got delayed.

“Once the second phase is on track, steps to start the third phase will be initiated,” the official said. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has plans to have at least 100 services delivered at people’s doorsteps, the official said.

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Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi told IANS: “The plan initially was to take things online but we realised that people find it more easy to call a number and get the services instead of doing things online.” The tenure of the Kejriwal government will end on February 2020. (IANS)