Mohalla Clinic or the NEIGHBOURHOOD HEALTH CENTRE was one of the pet schemes of the newly formed AAP government in Delhi under Arvind Kejriwal. It aimed to provide primary healthcare facilities to the millions of Delhiites and ease the load of already overburdened hospitals in the national capital. There were plans to raise about 1000 such clinics in the entire Delhi, but AAP government managed to put up about 450 of them. While the AAP not only used these clinics as a health model poll plank in whichever elections it went to contest, but also arranged the visits of foreign dignitaries like retired UN Secretary Generals and former PMs to garner international praise, which it actually received from many national and foreign media houses.
But looking at the CoViD-19 panic in Delhi, where the cases are rising up like a wild fire, Mohalla Clinics are just about helpless, rather in some cases, it was observed that Mohalla Clinics themselves became a Coronavirus hotspots when some of their staff got infected and it lead to their visitors getting infected too.
Mohalla clinics as such have a very controversial past, from allegations of running mohalla clinics on the properties of AAP members to corruption and mismanagement and to their overhyped unbelievable statistics showing diagnosis of 533 patients within 4 hours, there have been many contentious issues in their functioning. And worse thing is that when Delhi is in the desparate need for healthcare in this CoViD-19 pandemic, the globally advertised Mohalla Clinics have almost vanished from the public scene and attention.
Meanwhile, the innovative Indian Railways have provided 500 modified isolation coaches which will add up 8000 beds for CoViD-19 patients, Railways will provide additional 500 coaches in coming days but looking at the exponential rise in the national capital’s CoViD-19 cases, people wonder if they will be sufficient. Today, while the common public is struggling to manage a hospital bed for their Covid19 patients, the experts are forecasting about 5-6 lakh CoViD-19 cases in Delhi during next month. The question lingering in many minds is what would have been the situation, if instead of opening about those 450 odd Mohalla Clinics in last 5 years, AAP government had made 15 new hospitals? The Crores of rupees splurged by AAP government on its media advertisements in tight budget, where many Delhi doctors and healthworkers are not receiving their salaries, further adds up to the public frustration. CoViD-19 pandemic crisis was the first major test for Delhi’s much touted healthcare model, but it miserably failed.