“Delhi Government is planning to open 100 more Mohalla Clinics,” said Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi who has taken charge of the Health and Family Welfare Department in the absence of Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendra Jain. It was Jain who first mooted the idea of Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics when AAP first came to power.
But how effective have the existing clinics been? Going by some of the videos circulating on social media by opposition parties, are they even functional? If they are not, residents have no other option but to visit private clinics and pay consultation fee in hundreds.
To find answers to all these questions, Patriot visited a few of the 519 Mohalla Clinics in different localities. What we found was a mixed bag: Some were busy, some closed, one had been shifted to a different locality where we found it closed.
- The clinic at Shaheen Bagh was closed, as were others at overcrowded ghettos of Delhi.
- The clinic-cum-parking lot at posh Defence Colony was busy. The doctor here sees more than 90 patients a day and the clinic has adequate stocks of medicine storage and staff.
- The one at Hari Nagar has been closed for more than a year now. “This is where we had our Mohalla Clinic”, said a local resident, Manoj. He told us it was shifted to Nehru Nagar, 2.5 km away where it would be accessible only to those with their own transport. Interestingly, the clinic at Nehru Nagar, too, is closed.
- A doctor-less clinic at GTB Nagar, one of the densely populated areas of Delhi. The gate is wide open and there is zero staff in this clinic close to Delhi University
Vox Pop: Have you ever been to a Mohalla Clinic?
Student, Delhi University
I was rushed by my friends to the Mohalla Clinic at GTB Nagar after I suffered a heatstroke on campus. The clinic was open but no one was inside. Students need a proper, affordable healthcare facility.
I am unsure about the services they offer, that’s why I have never been to any of these clinics till date. I have heard most of these Mohalla Clinics are in bad shape. The infrastructure has been built but treatment is elusive.
Watchman, Lajpat Nagar IV
I have been working here for the past two years and I believe that these clinics are accessible and affordable for everyone, especially for the working class. This one is located in a market so workers from nearby shops visit it.
Resident, Karol Bagh
I don’t know if any of these clinics exist in my locality, nor do I know anyone who has visited one. I think these healthcare facilities have failed to gain the trust of a big chunk of Delhi’s population.
Resident, Yamuna Vihar
I have had a good experience at Mohalla Clinics. I must say that the cleanliness and hygiene are maintained in such a way that leaves private clinics far behind. Most of the tests are free and medicines are easily available. I am unaware of the government data but I felt there is a shortage of staff when I visited. Of course, this might have been a coincidence but that has been my experience.
Before setting up new clinics, the government should assess the condition of existing ones. Do they really provide the service for which they were built? Wish I could say so. A few months back, one of my friends got injured and we thought of getting first aid at a clinic nearby. To our surprise, it didn’t even have bandages and were denied treatment. So what purpose do Mohalla Clinics serve?
For more stories that cover the ongoings of Delhi NCR, follow us on:
Ali Fraz Rezvi
Ali Fraz Rezvi covers heritage, history, literature and current social issues for the Patriot.