US' prestigious Stanford University, in its Social Innovation Review, has expressed appreciation for the Delhi government's move to offer free primary medical healthcare through neighbourhood clinics, popularly known as Mohalla Clinics.
The city's Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government has till April, has set up over 150 Mohalla Clinics in different parts of the city and aims to take the number to 1,000.
Commending the initiative, the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), published by the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, said that healthcare in India - like the US - was far from universal and was not only privatised but also deeply unequal, heavily favouring wealthy patients who have access to urban centres.
"The government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi wants to change that. Since winning elections to govern India's capital and its environs in 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has launched a project to offer Delhi residents free preventive health screenings through local clinics in the neighbourhoods, or mohallas, where they live," it said.
"A new patient can walk into a Mohalla Clinic-no appointment necessary-and receive a full physical examination from the doctor on staff. The clinic offers all consultations, screenings, lab tests, and medications free of charge, and asks the patient to register on a hand-held tablet for follow-up visits.
"Patients referred to a specialist or hospital can receive those services for free, too. The Mohalla Clinics themselves keep only 120 different basic medications, which the government replenishes regularly," said the article.
In past also, the Mohalla Clinics were lauded by the UN's former Secretary General Kofi Annan and former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland.
One of the world's oldest medical journals, The Lancet (Britain) also praised the concept in December last year.
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