One of the clinics visited by South Delhi MP Ramesh Bidhuri Thursday.
Days after the BJP hit out at the state of Delhi government schools, party leaders visited AAP’s mohalla clinics Thursday and criticised the flagship healthcare system, claiming it was not being properly maintained. The AAP as well as clinic staff, however, against sought to deflate the BJP’s claims, labelling them false and motivated.
In a tweet, BJP president J P Nadda shared a video of several people complaining about the lack of facilities, infrastructure and medicines at a clinic. Towards the end, the video alleged that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has deprived the people of Delhi from availing benefits of the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme, which provides free healthcare services up to Rs 5 lakh.
Nadda also took a dig at the AAP government for not being able to fulfill its promise of setting up 1,000 clinics in the city: “Kejriwal ji, you promised to open 1,000 mohalla clinics every year. Even the small number of clinics you opened lack basic facilities.”
The video was also shared by Home Minister Amit Shah, who tweeted: “For the sake of your selfish politics, you kept Delhi’s poor away from Modi ji’s Ayushman Yojana. You have to give answers for the sin that you have committed.”
BJP MP Gautam Gambhir, who had gone to a clinic in East Delhi, tweeted that “the marvel of AAP’s healthcare revolution has ACs, water tanks, empty cabinets intact. Maybe the medicines have been shifted somewhere.”
However, as per health officials, this set up was started as a pharmacy on the request of a private hospital. “We started it as a pharmacy in partnership with Apollo Hospital, but the model did not work successfully. Orders have been given to dismantle the building. This is not a mohalla clinic at all,” said a senior official from the health department.
South Delhi MP Ramesh Bidhuri said he had gone to three mohalla clinics in Dakshinpuri, Prahladpur in Tughlakabad and one in Sangam Vihar near Batra Cinema. He said the clinics were in poor shape, with a lot of filth outside. “The bathroom too was in a shabby condition,” he said.
Dr Suhasini Gera of the Azadpur clinic, which featured in Nadda’s video, said, “My clinic is always clean. I have no control over garbage issues outside my clinic; that’s outside my jurisdiction. In terms of medicines and facilities, we are well equipped. The clinic remains open between 7.45 am and 2 pm. I have been posted here for around a year.”
Reacting to the video, AAP said the clip of the Azadpur clinic is old and the open defecation issue was resolved a long time ago.
Another clinic that featured in the video is the Peeragarhi mohalla clinic. Dr Abha Sethi, chief medical officer of the clinic, said: “Our clinic is in the PWD office of Peeragarhi and is well-maintained. No one visited our office during working hours.”
There are 450 clinics in the city. Started in 2015, mohalla clinics have served two crore OPD patients and conducted 18 lakh tests until November 2019 as per government data.