Working on primary health care has been in the list of Mr.Kejriwal led Delhi Government’s priority along with Education, water and electricity among others. One of the flagship programs in the area of health included Mohalla clinic beside Delhi ArogyaKosh (DAK) and Farishtey Scheme for victims of accident. The Farishtey Scheme eases the process of providing a quick, hassle free and best emergency health support to victims of road/fire accidents and acid attacks. The Government takes full responsibility of bearing the cost treatment in any government or private hospitals in Delhi and also rewards the person who comes out to support the victim.  Through DAK, Farishtey Scheme or Mohalla Clinic, the government takes responsibility of providing health services to citizen. These schemes and others can be read in detail from www.delhi.gov.in

What is a Mohalla Clinic?

One of the most innovative efforts in health care by Delhi Government in its tenure of 2015-2020 is it’s innovation with the primary health care facility. Mohalla clinic was first set up in 2015 and it soon went buzzing across the state, nation and globe. The concept and service of mohalla (neighbourhood) clinic has been lauded by United Nations Seceretary General Kofi Annan and a former WHO director Dr Harlem Brundtland among several others. The Health Minister of Delhi, Mr.Satyender Jain, in an interview to Express Health (https://urlzs.com/pU2Jx ) shares, “Mohalla Clinic is a simple concept developed by AAP, which is being explored by many others now. The idea was to provide diagnostics and treatment of simple ailments to people and reduce the footfall in tertiary care hospitals. These clinics within a 5 km radius from their home offer over 100 essential drugs and 212 diagnostic tests which are absolutely free. The doctors in these clinics treat minor ailments such as fever, headache, diarrhoea, skin problems, respiratory problems etc., first aid for injuries and burns, dressing and management of minor wounds and referral services.”

Why is Mohalla Clinic a spirited health facility in Delhi?

Delhi being capital of India and the only metropolitan city in Northern zone of the country faces responsibility of meeting health needs of about 2 croresDelhites plus the migrate population from other states of India. The city being the largest in subcontinent also attracts medical tourism. With 450 Mohalla Clinics spread across Delhi for primary health care, patients load in hospitals have reduced as all the primary health needs are available and accessible in the mohalla itself. This increases the habit of consulting a doctor at early stage of symptoms. Hence, a large number of patients at present are treated in their locality. These patients have reduced the crowd at hospitals. Moreover, early treatment at a Mohalla Clinic definitely reduces the number patients for hospitals in future. As a result a patient who had no habit of consulting a doctor found it accessible and affordable to visit a mohalla clinic. He/she gets treated for cough and other diseases who would otherwise have been seen visiting a multispecialty hospital such as LNJP hospital. With over 200 crore OPD in Mohalla Clinics till December 2019, no doubt the facility in neighbourhood has even helped patients in poly clinics and hospitals who had lesser wait period due to increased facilities for primary health care. This initiative has also shown phenomenal increased in health seeking behaviour among people living near a mohalla clinic.

A study titled as “Are Mohalla Clinics Making the AamAadmi Healthy in Delhi?” published in the wire ( https://urlzs.com/FmYHR ) presents its assessment as,  “Mohalla Clinics are delivering good result in terms of equality in accessibility and affordability of primary healthcare. Since these clinics are mostly located in underdeveloped areas with poor infrastructure, they are ensuring better geographical access to health services. These clinics are also reducing time and costs involved in commuting and waiting to avail the treatment. This in turn, seems to give weight to the argument that supply-side financing strategy, like the one implemented through Mohalla clinics, is more rational than the demand-side strategy of financing health insurance.”

Stakeholders’ view on Mohalla Clinic

While there have been several recognizing views on Mohalla Clinic with different perspectives, it is imperative here to highlight some views or concerns of its stakeholders.

A male patient who consulted at AAMC MeeraBagh expressed, “Whenever I feel little discomfort, I rush to my clinic early in morning. It is free of cost and the doctor is highly qualified.”

Another patient, a female in 40s with a two children, said, “This mohalla clinic at Bhajanpur has been saviour to me and family. The doctor is very nice and all my family members and kids visit here for any issues related to health. My husband gets his blood sugar test and medicines from here only. We are able to save money on health and use the saved money for our kids.”

Doctors at Mohalla Clinic works tirelessly to offer best of their services. Dr.Acopic Vyas of New Delhi and Dr. Arora of ShaheenBagh like several other empanelled doctors share a chart of healthy diet plan with their patients. They also educate patients on healthy lifestyle.                Dr.Anupma from AAMC 35 block Trilokpuri shares, “I enjoy working at this clinic as serving people gives me peace. After seeing the satisfaction on my patient’s face, we as doctor feel so overwhelmed by their love…it’s like a closely knit bond between us and patient. Serving in mohalla clinic is helping me give the best of profession to people out here.”

A pharmacist shared, “Working in a mohalla clinic for just 6 hours a day brings me immense satisfaction for the whole day. My service brings changes in lives of so many patients and families every day.”  Some other pharmacists, Mohalla Clinic Assistant (MCA) and Multi Task Workers (MTWs) also echoed similar thoughts and expressed their job satisfaction.

Conclusion

The primary healthcare facility as Mohalla Clinic in Delhi is an innovative approach to enlist people’s participation in enhancing health seeking behaviour and health infrastructure. The 450 Mohalla Clinics stands as first step towards primary healthcare for most of the Delhites. It is imperative here that more people avail this health facility and be open to suggest the government and other stakeholders for any improvement or betterment.

-Dr. Md. Ali Azam is a Ph.D and Master in Social Work. He works as a research fellow with Delhi Legislative Assembly. Area of expertise include urban built environment, social order, health, children and youth. (aliazam786@gmail.com)


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2 Comments

  1. Avatar Sunita Wardhan says:

    Revolution to improve health status of country.

  2. The best approach to improve health care in a community