The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s (AMC) Urban Health Society has initiated process to set up 1,000 urban health clinics announced in the 2020-21 Gujarat budget for municipal corporations and nagar palikas.
Interviews were held at 10.30 am Monday, at a short notice for 354 new urban health clinics that would operate from 5 pm to 9 pm, as the process gathered pace amid mass exodus of migrant population from urban areas due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Even before the state reported its first positive COVID-19 case on March 19, municipal corporations and nagar palikas across the state were instructed to ensure that these clinics get operational at the earliest.
A letter dated March 6, 2020 by Health Commissioner Jai Prakash Shivahare stated, “Thousand health clinics — one per population of 10,000 — were approved in all municipal corporations and nagar palikas with an aim to help those living in slums and slum-like vulnerable pockets of urban areas save transportation cost and other health expenses… by providing them primary treatment, laboratory tests and medicines free of cost at their doorstep,” the letter stated.
Announced by Gujarat Finance Minister Nitin Patel in the state’s financial budget 2020-21 on February 26, the approvals and its implementation for these 1,000 urban health clinics took hardly a few days.
“It was announced in the budget… the process of setting up of urban clinics majorly targetting migrant population is on a fast pace now,” said AMC medical officer Dr Bhavin Solanki.
Civic bodies have been directed to provide infrastructure to set up the health clinics in existing government infrastructure, including schools, anganwadi centres or common plots.
A few municipal corporations, including the AMC, have completed the mapping of available health services in the respective areas and identified areas that lack primary health services. The state government has also instructed them to identify open areas for construction of these clinics in case of non-availability of space in existing infrastructure.
Of the 1,000 health clinics being set up as part of the project targeting migrant labourers settled in urban pockets, 70 per cent will be in municipal corporation limits, while the remaining in nagar palika areas. Each urban health clinic will have one medical officer and a paramedical staffer.
Around 715 clincis will come up in eight municipal corporations, of which AMC has a requirement of 354 clinics followed by Surat Municipal Corporation with 142 clinics. Aman Nagar Palika Gandhidham has a requirement of 13 health clinics, followed by bhai Morbi and Patan with 10 each.
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