Delhi’s government under the headship of Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party has successfully laid the foundation of 189 Mohalla or Community Clinics in order to take primary healthcare services to the doorstep of the underprivileged class of Delhi. In recent news, the Delhi Chief Minister has been urging the people of Delhi to provide rent-free land to the government to set up these Mohalla Clinics; the government aims to set up 1000 clinics and is currently appealing people to join in on this good cause.
The initiative has garnered a lot of praise internationally, both from the media and international officials like former secretary-general of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon and former Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland during their visit to a health facility. The programme has been called a landmark initiative in decreasing the load on secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities.
In Ban’s words, he was “deeply touched” by Kejriwal’s “strong engagement and vision” and has recommended that the center should increase their expenditure on healthcare services from 1% of the GDP to 2.5%. The Mohalla clinics have been immensely instrumental in catering to the medical needs in the rural areas. The clinics have efficiently taken care of small and common ailments which constitute up to 90-955 of healthcare load thus freeing up doctors in the secondary and tertiary sector to take care of complex diseases.
Not only has the clinic been a great help in reducing loads but has also facilitated people by creating small clinics in every neighborhood. The clinics have increased geographical accessibility and have reached the marginalized sections of the society. The govt aims at providing health care services within 5 km of every community. The medical services are free of cost, including the consultation fee and the medicines provided. This has been a great step towards the screening of the homeless and marginalized people who often remain without the support and the aid these facilities provide.
The scheme has increased accessibility and has especially given importance to equity by targeting the poor and marginalized. The Delhi government also enjoys a higher budget and has rightly allocated its funds to give primacy to healthcare. Healthcare services are enjoying a whopping 4% of the budget, 3% more than the existing union budget. This is the first time where health has been announced as a flagship scheme alongside education.
It also provides financial protection to the people by 110 essential drugs and 212 diagnostic tests to people absolutely free of cost. This has eliminated the ‘quacks’ that people would usually contact to save money, thus exposing themselves to untrained individuals and health risks. Delhi now has a higher number of doctors per 1000 people and the govt has made a conscious effort to employ more doctors with its increased budgets. In this process, it has not only facilitated health but has also increased employment. The clinics have become a hub for health education and awareness.
The system is also using good technology thus making clinics highly responsive to the public with its token vending machines and vending machines for dispensing medicines. This also reduces the human involvement of hoarding medicines in stock. The initiative is a well thought out plan and is fulfilling its promised made by the Aam Aadmi Party. The party is also considering the extension of the facilities by including 100 dental clinics so that people can get simple procedures like fillings done at these centres.
The effectiveness of the system is reflected in the comments of Brundtland, who was the director general of the World Health Organization. She said-“In Delhi, with Mohalla Clinics and plans to develop them, you are approaching what needs to be done for all people, for every Indian and everyone in every country. So, we are happy to see what is being done here in Delhi and what the government has been planning and implementing on the behalf of the people of this region. It needs to be done all over India.” Kejriwal, although has been facing some problems with the Union Government since the Nation’s Capital, is centrally administered. The same old problem has surfaced; it seems that this country cannot allow change for the better without creating problems first. However, this is a step towards a promising future and one should always acknowledge and encourage such initiatives.
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