Delhi: Dispensaries may give way to mohalla clinics

Astha Saxena
Mohalla clinics see 150-200 visitors daily

The Delhi government is planning to convert rented dispensaries in the city into mohalla clinics and is conducting a study to gauge the financial viability of the project. Based on the number of patients visiting the OPDs at these rented dispensaries, and the salary of the staff employed there, the government is planning to replace the project with Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics (AAMCs), said officials.

According to officials, the move is being considered as running mohalla clinics is more economically viable. There are 89 dispensaries being run on rented accommodations in the city, of which 52 are owned by private agencies. At present, the Delhi government is paying a monthly rent to the owner of the dispensary. The final report will be submitted to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by August 15, said a senior Delhi government official.

We are analysing the money spent on the functioning of these dispensaries on a monthly basis. As per initial estimates, mohalla clinics are a better option as they do not require much financial support. Doctors are paid depending on the number of patients they attend and the set-up does not require much spending, said the official.

On an average, around 300 patients visit the OPDs at dispensaries, while a mohalla clinic witnesses around 150-200 patients on a daily basis. At present, 195 mohalla clinics are operational in Delhi. The Delhi government has planned to open 530 clinics by the end of 2019.

A total of 1,040 sites were identified by the government for setting up the mohalla clinics, of which 740 were found unfeasible. The department of health, meanwhile, has identified 234 feasible sites to construct mohalla clinics. However, no progress has been made at the sites so far.

While the Public Works Department (PWD), Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the three municipal bodies continue to spar over land to construct more mohalla clinics, the Delhi government has reached out to public to rent space. Last month, in a public appeal through an advertisement, Kejriwal requested the public

to send applications to the Department of Health by August 6.

We have received 150 applications so far. It took us almost two-and-a-half years to get the locations approved from several municipal bodies. While 150 mohalla clinics are under-construction, we are struggling to start work on the remaining ones, said a senior health official.

According to officials, even the sites identified for the construction of dispensaries will now first have a mohalla clinic set up there. A total of 48 such sites have been identified by the health department, said officials.

According to officials, staff at these rented dispensaries will be deputed to government hospitals, particularly the ones reeling under shortage of doctors and medical staff.

All these doctors and nurses are working under the Delhi government, so they will be transferred to any of the government hospitals. For running a mohalla clinic, we don t need separate doctors, added the official.