AAP to give free water to all residents through its mohalla clinic project
New Delhi, April29:The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government offered free water to Delhi residents but its ambitious mohalla clinic project is running dry. Lack of water connections at the low-cost medical centres has become a nettlesome issue for doctors, paramedical staff as well as thousands of patients who visit in the scorching summer.
The primary healthcare project was kicked off by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in 2015 to unburden ageing state-run hospitals.
Detractors are now questioning the planning and arrangements at the 162 operational mohalla clinics.
MOHALLA CLINICS TO GET WATER SUPPLY
The AAP administration has promised about 1,000 of these centres across Delhi, boasting innovative diagnostic technology and sharply dressed doctors.
“The government is now planning to get water connections at all the mohalla clinics. These centres do not have supply of running water and are currently being managed by installing water dispensers,” a top source from the health department told Mail Today.
The official added that the AAP government has pushed a file to ensure that these clinics, which have no water connection since July 2015, soon get proper supply.
“The government has accelerated the process noticing that patients are reeling under sweltering heat while waiting to get treatment,” the source said
The matter was also raised in a meeting of the health department, but since then a blame game has begun among officials, the source added.
“As per the new plan, the contract of water supply will be given to an agency and the department is working on finalising it,” said the official. Mail Today contacted Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain for a comment, but he asked this reporter to speak to Tarun Seem, the director of Delhi State Health Mission. “Presently, drinking water facility is through dispensers at mohalla clinics. Yes, we are working on getting the water connections to all the mohalla clinics, which earlier was lacking,” Seem said.
PACKAGED WATER USED
A doctor at one of the mohalla clinics said packaged water is used for all purposes. “Every day we get canned water for daily use. We do have washrooms and basins but there is no supply of running water. So, water from the bottles is used. At times, it is not sufficient for our daily use as a high level of hygiene is to be maintained,” the doctor said.
Seem claimed that the government is also looking at strengthening its three-tier healthcare system- mohalla clinics, polyclinics and multi-speciality as well as super-speciality hospitals.
The two-room portable-cabin mohalla clinics have been set up on 50 square yards within two kilometers of each mohalla, or neighbourhood, so that residents do not have to travel far for basic medical treatment. They remain open for three hours in the morning. But if many patients visit the clinics, they also open for three more hours in the evening.
Justifying the lack of water connections a senior government official said these clinics only operate a few four hours a day. “These are makeshift rooms built for basic healthcare for a small community and are visited only by locals, so provision could not be made. But the government is working to fix the problem,” he said.
According to an expert, most mohalla clinics are functioning out of rented rooms. These don’t have proper storage facilities and doctors are paid on per patient basis.
Delhi government data shows that the centres treated around 1.5 million people between April and December last year. The clinics offer 110 essential drugs and 212 diagnostic tests to people free of cost.