Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced that footfall at the national capital’s hospitals has doubled in outpatient departments (OPDs).
Whilst acknowledged that the increased traffic at OPDs is a “big challenge”, the Chief Minister pledged that the state government would “scale up our facilities” to cope with the rise in demand. “We hope in future, people will repose greater faith in government hospitals, and move from private facilities to our hospitals,” he said.
Footfall, the Chief Minister, “stood at three crore” when the Aam Aadmi Party came to power in the state five years ago. It “now gone up to six crore.” He further added, “Delhi has witnessed an expansion in health services and many new facilities have been increased at each level…As our services have improved, people are shifting from private hospitals to government hospitals for treatments.”
Improving standards of healthcare has been a core tenet of Kejriwal’s policy since coming to power – exemplified by his administration’s Mohalla Clinics initiative. State health minister Satyender Jain explained a three-tier system for improving health and wellbeing in Delhi, expanding “[the] first tier is the mohalla clinics, and there are more than 300 such clinics in Delhi, with all several diagnostic tests and medicines available. On the secondary level, there are 125 polyclinics in Delhi, out of which 26 are functional with specialists available inside the clinics. On the tertiary level, there are multi-specialty hospitals and super-specialty hospitals.”
Recently, Kejriwal inaugurated 100 new Mohalla clinics in Delhi. The target of the Delhi government when it came to power in 2015 was to construct 1,000 by the end of its term in office, but a number of legal, political, and practical obstacles have stood in the way of that target. Nonetheless, the state government aspires to construct 500 Mohalla clinics by next year’s Legislative Assembly elections in the state.
“In 2015, we launched mohalla clinics with the aim that people no longer would require to visit hospitals, far from their place, to get treatment,” Kejriwal commented. “Earlier, people had to travel long distances in buses to reach government hospitals, or go to private clinics that charged hefty fees. Mohalla clinics are making healthcare more accessible to people.”