For women, by women: Delhi opens first mahila mohalla clinic, more to follow

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched the government’s first ‘mahila mohalla clinic’ near Bangla Sahib Gurdwara in New Delhi constituency Wednesday, while three clinics were also inaugurated in Sapera Basti in the East district, Batla House in Okhla, and Mehrauli.

According to officials, 100 mahila mohalla clinics will be opened in the next couple of days, under the first phase of this project, after which facilities will be opened as per requirements. The clinic will cater to children less than 12 years and women visiting for gynaecology-related issues. Four officials, including a doctor, mohalla clinic assistant, a pharmacist and a multi-task worker, have been deployed at the clinic.

“This clinic will help women with gynaecological, psychological, contraception-related and family planning issues. Children below 12 years of age will be provided with routine immunisation,” said Dr Sangeeta, the doctor in-charge at the clinic, adding that the documentation of patients will be done digitally so records are maintained.

She added that for ultrasound and X-rays, patients will be referred to bigger hospitals.

Inaugurating the clinic, Kejriwal said all employees in mahila mohalla clinics will be women, which will help female patients share issues comfortably. “They are likely to have some health issues that male doctor may not directly relate to. Therefore, women in the city demanded mohalla clinics exclusively for them. Today we are glad to announce the opening of four such mohalla clinics. In next couple of days, under the first phase of this project, we will be opening 100 such clinics,” he said.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and other officials from the state health department were present at the event.

Reacting to the development, Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said: “It is sad that Kejriwal, after almost eight years in office, doesn’t know that in Delhi the MCD has been running 130 mahila health centres for decades apart from 30 maternity centres and dedicated Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for women only.”

Speaking to The Indian Express, state nodal officer for Aam Aadmi mohalla clinic project Dr Shalley Kamra said that discussions will be held on gender equality at the clinic. “We will provide them with information on breastfeeding, adolescents health, anaemia prevention, etc, along with family planning services and routine immunisation,” said Dr Kamra.

Several women and children were seen visiting the clinic.

According to Jaya Rana and Geeta Loat, residents of the DIZ Staff Quarters near Kaali Mandir where Kejriwal launched the clinic, the facility is expected to be of use to women living in nearby areas. “We will definitely avail of services. But the government should do something about drug addicts and eve-teasers living on sidewalk close to the clinic,” the women said.

The facilities

Other than the 239 lab tests and general curative medicines provided in the regular mohalla clinics, mahila mohalla clinics will provide comprehensive screening services for women. Anaemia profile, cervical cancer screening and screening and treatment for issues including uterine fibroids, menstrual disorders, and other reproductive disorders.

A comprehensive service will be available for pregnant women, antenatal check-ups, identification of high-risk pregnancy, free ultrasound through DAK, free tests including to check haemoglobin, complete blood count, thyroid, VDRL, HIV, blood sugar and urine tests and referral to higher centres will be provided.

Family planning counselling will be given to women and they will ensure a provision of contraceptives, including condoms, oral contraceptives, injectables and copper IUDs. For children, a routine immunisation programme will be made available against TB, Diphtheria, and Hepatitis among others. The clinics will ensure identification and management of malnourished children, identification of birth defects and developmental disabilities. An anaemia profile facility will be available for adolescents who will be taught menstrual hygiene management and stress-related health issues.

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