Inaugurating the government’s first-ever mohalla clinic in Peeragarhi on Sunday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told residents that when Health Minister Satyendra Jain first approached him with the idea of a clinic built at a cost of Rs 20 lakh, he found it “unbelievable”.
“When Jain came to me with the idea around two months ago, I couldn’t believe it. I asked him to implement it and show me. Now he has.
With 1,000 clinics planned, there will be an average of 15 such clinics in every Assembly constituency. Now, poor people can get treatment in air-conditioned facilities like the rich do in private hospitals for the first time in Delhi. This is a huge dream which has been realised today,” Kejriwal said.
He said the crowd from hospitals will also decrease, increasing their efficiency. “Now people will go to big hospitals only for serious cases. So the crowd from Safdarjung, AIIMS and Delhi government hospitals like Maulana Azad Medical College will decrease,” the CM said.
Kejriwal, who arrived at Peeragarhi around 3.30 pm, first went to the clinic with Jain and clinic staff to check the facilities. As word got around that the CM would be inspecting the facility, representatives of the two mobile labs that are currently carrying out blood tests at the clinic — PHFI’s Swasthya Tablet that was launched by the Centre in 2014 and Accuster Technologies — got into an argument about who would run Kejriwal’s tests.
The latter argued that only two from their company were allowed inside while four from Swasthya were allowed in the clinic. Eventually, sources said, Kejriwal’s blood pressure was taken by the former, while his blood sugar was tested by the latter. Sources said the Delhi government is yet to finalise which of the two agencies would be awarded the contract for running blood tests in all the mohalla clinics. For now, both companies are providing demonstrations to the government’s lab technician.
Meanwhile, Jain said the dispensary was built at 1/25th the cost of dispensaries built by the previous government — at Rs 20 lakh.
“People have asked us how much money we are spending on such facilities. We don’t want them to worry about the money, but to look at the services. As far as costs go, we are building 25 dispensaries at the cost of one now,” Jain said.
He said the idea behind the clinics was conceived during the AAP government’s first stint. “During the first time, we thought of mobile health clinics. Instead of making residents of a colony travel to the hospital, we wanted health facilities to come to their doorstep. When problems were identified with that concept, we came up with the idea of mohalla clinics,”Jain said.
He added that 500 such clinics will be built this year and another 500 before the next financial year.