Aam Aadmi Clinic in Bangalore

On this Rajyotsava Day (Karnataka State formation day), the Aam Aadmi Party has taken a unique step in Bangalore.

The Aam Aadmi Clinic, modelled on the Delhi government’s Mohalla Clinics, opened in Shantinagar (close to Richmond Town, where I grew up) this morning. It is being run with donations from the savings of volunteers and supporters through a registered Trust. Rani Desai, Sanchit Sawhney, J. Hariharan, V. Gopal and Renuka Vishwanathan are the Trustees.

This is a pilot project to show how primary health service should be provided by the government and BBMP.

The clinic is located at 54 Basappa Road, and will be open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Details in the flier below.

Good healthcare in the neighbourhood is a right in any civilised society. When we were children Sadat Dispensary near Johnson Market, was the neighbourhood government clinic. I recall going there a few times, but we mostly went to the private doctors when we fell ill. The other places we could have gone to would have been the government hospitals, but even though the treatment would have been free, they were too far away. Those who were seeking free treatment would have had no option but to make the trip. Things are not much different now.

Over the years, private clinics and hospitals have mushroomed in all localities, to provide accessible healthcare. But medical expenses can empty one’s bank account. Many people avoid going to private doctors because they cannot afford the charges – consultation, diagnostic tests, medicines and other treatment.

Government hospitals on the other hand, are affordable but often not preferred if one had a choice. In general, they are perceived to be neglected and sub-optimal in medical care. As they are free, the perception is that only those who cannot afford private treatment would go there. And as the doctors who work there also have this perception, it is perceived that they would not treat you in the same way as they would if you were paying for the treatment. All this may be partially true, but what is fully true is that given the population, they are overburdened. Clinics in neighbourhoods will relieve the hospitals as minor illnesses can be handled there itself.

The success of the Mohalla Clinics in Delhi has shown that this is what people need. Here’s hoping that this first Aam Aadmi Clinic will show the way in Bangalore too.

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