ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Maximising Potential

Delhi's Mohalla Clinics

The mohalla or community clinics run by the Delhi government could be termed populist but have the potential to meet the needs of the people, make basic healthcare accessible and decongest higher level health facilities. These could also prove to be a landmark in health service delivery in India.

One of the challenges in health services delivery in India pertains to poor performance by peripheral health facilities or the primary healthcare system. Unpredictable availability of providers, lack of services, medicines and diagnostics and poorly functioning referral linkages are the key challenges. A large proportion of patients, even those with common illnesses seek treatment at the secondary and tertiary care facilities/institutions. This leads to overcrowding, long waiting hours, poor quality of service delivery and patient dissatisfaction. Many of these patients thus end up accessing either non-qualified providers or private providers, even at out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditure.

The bigger health facilities are always attractive to patients and politicians alike. The former want to go to them for even common illnesses and the latter wish to set up big institutions such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), without realising that unless the primary healthcare system is totally functional, AIIMS-like institutions would have neither the time nor the resources to treat cases requiring specialist care if they tend to every common illness.

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