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What Are Delhi’s Mohalla Clinics And How Have They Benefitted People?

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Health has been a matter of concern in all third-world countries worldwide, and to cope with health issues, individual governments and the World Health Organisation have taken several steps and improved on them over the years.

Similarly, the concept of Mohalla clinics has developed. The main aim of these clinics is to fulfil basic health care needs through consultation, medicines and medical tests, free of cost. The motive of Mohalla clinics is to fix Delhi’s wrecked healthcare. In addition, the clinics offer immunisation and family planning services.

The best fact about these clinics is that they are the first point of contact of people with the healthcare system, and thus, may help decongestant hospitals.

Mohalla Clinics are the first tier of the “three-tier public health roadmap”, being the centre for basic consultations and medicines. The second tier consists of polyclinics offering specialist care and a wider spectrum of diagnoses, including X-ray and ultrasound. The third tier is related to emergency purposes, such as the urgent need for surgery and hospitalisation when patients are transferred to government hospitals.

Mohalla Clinics are located in villages and remote places in the National Capital to reach out to the poor section. Its main purpose is to provide medical facilities to the poorer sections as well as the locals. Keeping in mind the distance, the clinics are made for the people living within one kilometre so that they do not have to travel far for medical check-ups.

There are two doctors, one nurse and a pharmacist in every clinic. This initiative by the Aam Aadmi Party government is different from the government dispensaries. These are bigger in the area if compared to the dispensaries. A dispensary costs double to set up, whereas a Mohalla Clinic can be set up with about ₹20 lakh.

The first Mohalla Clinic was inaugurated in the Peeragarhi Relief Camp in July 2015 by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Medical officers employed by the State Government have been placed in three permanent Mohalla Clinics in Peeragarhi, Mandavali and Nathupura village. The other clinics are operated in rented places.

The doctors who are in charge of these clinics are paid ₹30 per patient. There is a smart use of advanced technology. However, the clinics are open only in the morning for 4 to 6 hours a day, and the biggest disadvantage of these clinics is that they do not operate in the evening.

The Mohalla Clinic located at Munirka has turned out to be a blessing for the local people. It is constructed maintaining a sound structure, spacious enough for people to stand and wait. The doctors who are helping these people from their busy schedules are friendly enough to communicate with.

Asifa, a housewife who used to travel spending ₹150 to reach the nearest hospital and wait in a long queue now just has to walk 10 minutes away from her home. “I am a patient suffering from low blood pressure. It was getting difficult for me to handle the growing expense. But now treatments are at my doorstep. It is a good effort made by Delhi Government,” she said.

Mohalla Clinics are the source of primary level treatment for anyone suffering from minor ailments. When asked about the not-so-convenient timing of Mohalla Clinics, Health Minister Satyendra Jain said:

“It will be financially unviable for us to keep mohalla clinics open for 24*7 hours. Mohalla clinics will be open for four or six hours a day as it is not easy for any government to open 1,000 hospitals for longer working hours since it will become very expensive. Mohalla Clinics will be open only for minor treatments, while for emergency cases, one must be taken to government hospitals.”

The government hospitals being the third tier of treatments are well maintained keeping the required level of cleanliness and hygiene.

“We have already introduced 55 CATS ambulances for the government hospitals and are planning to introduce 55 more. With these ambulances, it is easy for the doctors to track how far the patient is from hospitals. A smartphone app titled ‘102’ has been launched through which the patients can call ambulances during emergency cases. Through this application, even the doctors can track the distance of the ambulance from the hospital,” said Satyendra Jain.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Kumar Jain, in an exclusive interview, said that the number of hospital beds would be increased from 10,000 to 20,000 and that all government hospitals would be centrally air-conditioned. He also stressed the fact that there would be no special treatment provided to patients discriminating their economic background, only “one class” of treatment would be provided to everyone.

“Universal Health Scheme” has two parts, the first being for the underprivileged people, in which case the premium will be paid by the government, while the middle and the upper class will be charged for the nominal premium. Accident cases are supposed to be treated free of cost.

People in and around Delhi are satisfied with the sort of treatment provided to them at the Mohalla clinics. They also do not have to burn a hole in their pockets for the sake of travelling miles away to some hospital to get minor treatments and aliments checked.

“Since this Mohalla clinic is near to my place, I don’t have to take the headache of travelling farther. Here I am getting similar facilities which are being provided in the government hospitals,” said a shopkeeper whose shop is next to a Mohalla clinic.

These clinics have become a satisfactory medium of treatment where patients are getting free treatment on all kinds of ailments without any hassle.

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