War of words continued between Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, as the former, in response to the CM’s last letter, called Delhi’s mohalla clinics “an utter flop”. “All your fancy schemes, including the much-touted universal coverage health scheme announced more than a year ago, are still lying on the drawing boards awaiting implementation even after four and a half years. Your mohalla clinics are an utter flop and the drastic neglect of patient care in Delhi government hospitals is there for all to see,” Harsh Vardhan wrote to Kejriwal Saturday.
Requesting the CM to work together for the larger good of the people of Delhi, Vardhan wrote: “Be part of the historical health sector revolution that has been visualised by our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji. Ayushman Bharat is the world’s most ambitious and largest free government healthcare programme. Let us join hands to celebrate each milestone in the journey towards New India.”
On the CM’s statement that the Delhi government health scheme is “10 times better” than the Centre’s, Vardhan said that people still have to spend a lot from their pocket.
“PMJAY targets almost 30 lakh people in Delhi, who are poor and vulnerable. You have also mentioned that the income criterion of Rs 10,000 per month is less than the minimum wages in Delhi, but… this criterion of Rs 10,000 per month was used on data collected in 2011… such families are eligible under the scheme,” Vardhan wrote.
The Delhi government, in its official statement, said: “…It appears that he (Vardhan) has several misconceptions about mohalla clinics. The AAP would like to extend an invitation to take him around mohalla clinics. In the last year, over 50 lakh patients have been treated. There are so many conditions in Ayushman Bharat… The treatment provided at mohalla clinics can be a model for the rest of the country.”
This is why we are inviting Dr Harsh Vardhan to come and see the mohalla clinics and Delhi government hospitals,” the statement added.