The Delhi govt's Mohalla Clinics praised by UN ex-secretary general Kofi Annan

A global body chaired by former secretary-general of the UN Kofi Annan has suggested the scaling up of universal health coverage in India on lines of Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party government's flagship 'Mohalla Clinics' project, PTI reported.

In a letter to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, Annan lauded the health reforms in the national capital, especially providing free primary healthcare services through the mohalla clinics.

"We understand that this initiative is proving very successful and we commend you on this impressive achievement," Annan wrote in the letter dated 25 January in his capacity  as the Chair of 'The Elders', an organisation of independent global leaders founded by anti-apartheid icon and former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

The letter also contained a set of suggestions, in an accompanying memorandum, to further develop the programme. The implementation of the suggestions would help extend the health coverage in Delhi and provide important lessons for the other Indian states.

According to the policy memorandum, the root cause of India's relatively poor health coverage was the "chronically low levels" of public financing in the sector, which was amongst the lowest in Asia.

"Delhi's mohalla clinics may prove to be a good model to scale up Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in India...Many key health stakeholders in India are therefore, very excited about the Mohalla Clinic programme and its potential to become a model for scaling up coverage in other states," it said.

The Delhi government plans to set up 1,000 Mohalla Clinics across the city. Around 107 such clinics had already come up, in both middle class and urban poor neighbourhoods,  where people enjoyed the facilities of doctors, tests and medicines - all for free.