Chikungunya in Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal can take a leaf out of Sri Lanka’s battle against Malaria

On visiting many of the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Mohalla clinics in Delhi, some surrounded by stinking heaps of garbage next to clogged drains, it becomes instantly clear that a preventive approach to the city’s healthcare is missing. The recent outbreak of chikungunya and the 12 deaths caused by complications triggered due to the vector-borne disease in the capital, is reflective of the shortcoming in the healthcare policy adopted by the Delhi government.

The revolutionary project of opening free Mohalla clinics to provide primary treatment to residents of small neighbourhoods in the city is certainly a giant stride in curative healthcare. The term revolution owes to the real-life challenges faced in operating these clinics and the fact that they attempt to remove the economic disparity in healthcare by way of providing free basic medical care. All this in a city where out-of-pocket health expenditure is as high as 77 percent as per Delhi human Development Report 2013.

But a health policy opted by a government, be it central or state, is expected to address much more than just curative goals. The stakes are even higher when elections are won based on the assurance of providing universal modern healthcare facilities, as the AAP had done.


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