Step nearer to Right to Health for all

All governments promise but almost all governments worldwide have failed to provide the desired level of health care to its citizens. The record of successive governments in India is no better. The Fundamental Right to Life stated in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution has been interpreted by the Supreme Court as health being essential for human existence and therefore is an integral part of the Right to Life. Healthy society is a collective gain and it is now a settled law that Government has a constitutional obligation to provide health facilities and non-availability of services in the government health centres amount to a violation of Article 21. It has also been held that lack of financial resources cannot be a reason to shy away from its constitutional obligation. This obligation is further reinforced under article 47; it is for the state to secure health to its citizens as its primary duty. Many governments have no doubt tried to render this obligation by opening government hospitals and health centers, but have by and large been meaningless as they are not within the financial reach of the people and lack in quality.


The Delhi mohalla clinics is the nearest to right to health that any government worldwide has reached. Aam Aadmi Party, still a political infant has already set up 105 mohalla clinics running across Delhi and 1,000 more are in the pipeline to strengthen primary health care and reduce the burden on tertiary care hospitals.


The clinics have a reasonable reception area. The physician reviews patient medical history before examining and ordering blood and urine tests indicated. The Swasthya Slate is part of the success story of the mohalla clinics. This performs 33 common medical tests including blood pressure, heart rate, blood tests for sugar, blood haemoglobin, malaria, dengue, hepatitis, HIV, and typhoid and urine protein and glucose. The tests take only a few minutes reports are uploaded to a cloud-based medical-record management system that can be accessed by the patient. High quality, generic medicines are available free when prescribed. If required ambulance is made available to take the patient to a nearby hospital with patient’s medical records sent to the hospital electronically. The entire process is automated from check-in, to retrieval of medical records, to testing and analysis and ambulance dispatch. There whole process is paperless with no delay and no bills to be sent to the patient or insurance company. The automatic medicine vending machines being installed in mohalla clinic are a revolution in itself.


When expectedly by this year the 1000 mohalla clinics are opened at the door step at maximum 10 min walkable distance it will definitely be a big step in Delhi’s health care for the rest of the country to follow. Also there is plan for 150 polyclinics with facilities for X-ray, ECG, ultrasound etc and consultation by specialists. This will further reduce burden the emergency rooms of the multi-specialty hospitals proving doctors to focus more on admitted patients.


The success of the mohalla clinics can be gauzed by the fact that consultation by private family physician and specialists in the region has dropped to less than fifty percent. The mohalla clinics built in mere 20 Lakh rupees each have been highly appreciated by the western world and America is ready to follow the example to not only reduce suffering, but also overall healthcare cost.Dr Keerat Kaur Sibia

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