The Delhi government Monday approved the setting up of 265 ‘School Clinics’, along the lines of Mohalla Clinics, to extend medical facilities solely to school children and to utilise them as platforms to carry out other initiatives such as immunisation drives.
The government’s previous plan to set up Mohalla Clinics in schools had run into trouble, with the Delhi High Court striking down the proposal. Former Lt-Governor Najeeb Jung had returned a file carrying a similar proposal, while the incumbent L-G Anil Baijal had cleared the plan with riders, emphasising on the need to keep the safety and security of children in mind.
He had emphasised on the need to have a separate policy to govern Mohalla Clinics in schools. But the latest plan obviates that need as outsiders will not be allowed to enter school premises for treatment purposes, an official said.
The approval was granted during a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal which, apart from Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain, was attended by officials of the health and PWD departments.
“The government is trying to work out a system under which each such clinic can cater to children of at least two-three more schools. The land has been identified for clinics,” the official said. In fact, in a few schools, the necessary infrastructure has already been set up as part of the previous plan and they will just have to be made operational.
There are 187 functional Mohalla Clinics in the capital at the moment. The primary healthcare clinics, where a number of tests are conducted for free, were set up by the government to cushion the burden on hospitals and bring down the dependence of people on private clinics that charge hefty consultation charges.
The government plans to open at least 530 such clinics in 2018-19. “During the meeting, the CM was informed that No Objection Certificates have been received for 607 new sites, out of which 333 have been handed over to the Public Works Department,” the official added.