Delhi HC Asks Centre And AAP Govt To Have Mohalla Clinics All Over, Is It A Game-Changer?
September 15th, 2017
The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre, AAP government and civic bodies here to explore the possibility of setting up Mohalla clinics in all parts of the city to provide adequate health facility to the people, said a report by The Indian Express. A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar also directed the authorities including the land owning agencies to examine the sites suggested by the Delhi government for establishing these facilities.
It issued a notice, directed the government and other agencies to file feasibility reports with regard to the land falling in their jurisdiction within two weeks. The Bench warned of strict action against the authorities in case they failed to comply with the direction and file the status reports before the next date hearing on October 30.
Delhi government counsel Sanjoy Ghosh said that the proposal for neighbourhood health facility scheme has been approved by the concerned authority. He also added that the department has identified several free sites in the city and that the proposal to set up Mohalla Clinics was in line with the motto to offer health services at every two kilometres in Delhi.
The court was hearing NGO Justice For All’s plea for the authorities to allot an adequate number of plots for construction with permission to raise the appropriate temporary structures to run them.
Advocate Khagesh B Jha appearing for the NGO has alleged that the LG has now approved the scheme of Mohalla clinics but due to a multiplicity of agencies and difference of opinion has lead to the scheme working at a very slow pace. Seeking directions to the Centre, DDA and MCD to remove technical difficulties for construction of the temporary structures and running the clinics, the plea urged that authorities be asked to depute doctors, staff and provide proper facilities for smooth functioning.
Lieutenant Governor’s nod
This project was being delayed regarding a go-ahead signal from the Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal. The LG had received complaints of irregularities which later led to a probe by the Vigilance Department. According to a report by The Times of India, the Lieutenant governor gave a nod to the Mohalla clinics on 5 September 2017, five days after several MLAs of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party had staged a sitin at his office demanding that files related to the construction of clinics be cleared.
The LG said safeguards should be put in place to ensure transparency and quality in the delivery of health services. Earlier, there were corruption allegations against mohalla clinics, AAP’s flagship scheme was earlier sent to the vigilance department. Government sources said new files were not being cleared for months leading to delays in the expansion of the project. Of the 1000 clinics that were planned to be started by March 2017, only 158 are functional at the moment. Nearly 100 others have been built but they are not functional due to the lack of basic amenities.
In some cases, land-owning agencies like Municipal corporations refused to allow clinics to be set up in their spaces. LG’s order states that conditions laid down by the land owning agencies concerned for land use and construction of temporary structure must be strictly followed.
He also emphasised that there must be a transparent mechanism for renting out spaces, hiring doctors and determining footfalls in the clinics. He was quoted saying to The Times of India, “The health department shall not transfer, assign or otherwise part with the ownership or possession of the whole or any part land in any manner. Furthermore, wherever required, statutory permissions and no-objection certificates must be obtained from local bodies or departments concerned.”
Things to know about Mohalla clinics
Is Delhi Mohalla clinic a game-changer? Cynicism runs deep when it comes to any government-run institution and it is seemingly legitimate. But, AAP’s Mohalla is redefining healthcare by bringing in some extraordinary innovation. AAP’s Mohalla clinics continue to make news for its efforts and achievements in providing quality and affordable health care to the masses. Today, the Mohalla clinics have gone a step further by providing a state-of-the-art mini vending machine for the first time in an Aam Aadmi Mohalla clinic in Todapur, Delhi. The vending machine has the capacity to dispense up to 50 different types of prescribed medicines, including tablets and bottles.
The vending machine initiative is jointly funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and WISH, under the project SCALE.
The advantage of a mohalla clinic lies in the cost of the clinic which can be built at Rs 20 lakh compared to a government dispensary which takes about Rs 3 crores to build. One of AAP’s primary pitch to the people during the campaign was to improve the health care infrastructure in Delhi that will benefit all.
- The mohalla clinics were started by the AAP government in their first year in office to take diagnostics and treatment of simple ailments at people’s doorstep
- In Delhi, 110 clinics have treated 1.5 million people between April and December.
- The AAP plans to open 1000 such clinics and a radius of 2 kms will have a clinic.
- Four clinics at night shelter are helping screen the homeless and marginalised, who often get left out of social benefits. “These clinics are for people in Delhi who often find it difficult to receive treatment because they are alone with no support”, said Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain, according to a report by The Hindustan Times.
- AAP plans to provide dental care at the community level with 100 dental clinics based on the model of Mohalla clinics.
The Logical Indian lauds the initiative and appreciates the AAP government for investing in health care infrastructure. We request the other state governments to take up such initiatives and ensure the people can access and afford quality health care. We also urge the government to ensure implementation of the scheme by removing all technical hurdles on the way.