Over 270 mohalla clinics shut in city

Staff unable to reach facilities; will be issued special passes

Published - March 27, 2020 11:26 pm IST - New Delhi

NEW DELHI, 27/03/2020: A view of Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinic at Tilak Nagar in New Delhi on Friday, closed from 26th to 28th March 2020, during on 3rd day of 21 days complete lockdown due to corona virus. March 27, 2020. Photo By Shiv Kumar Pushpakar / The Hindu

NEW DELHI, 27/03/2020: A view of Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinic at Tilak Nagar in New Delhi on Friday, closed from 26th to 28th March 2020, during on 3rd day of 21 days complete lockdown due to corona virus. March 27, 2020. Photo By Shiv Kumar Pushpakar / The Hindu

Despite Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s assurances, over 270 of about 480 Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics (AAMCs) in the city were shut on Friday, mainly because employees were unable to reach the government-run facilities where treatment is provided for free, according to officials.

“There is a rumour that every mohalla clinic will be closed. This is wrong as we will ensure every clinic is fully functional during this tough time,” the Chief Minister had said on Thursday.

Lakhs of people, mainly from lower-middle income groups, rely on the clinics for medical care.

The government had earlier this week directed heads of hospitals and institutions under the health department to hire private vehicles for officials to reach their workplace as many were “unable to do so due to the lockdown”. But this facility is not available to staff of AAMCs as they are “empanelled” and not permanent staff, according to officials.

“They are essential services, so they should get passes and come for work,” a senior government official said.

“We have started issuing special ID cards to the staff so that they can reach the clinics,” a health department official told The Hindu .

“The staff gets paid according to the number of patients that visit the clinic and are not government employees. They do not have any government ID cards. Because of this, police are not allowing many of them to commute to the clinics,” the official added.

“About 230 of the 480 clinics were open on Wednesday, but it fell to 200 on Thursday. Today also more than 200 clinics were closed,” the official added.

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