US Should Learn From Arvind Kejriwal’s ‘Mohalla’ Clinics: Foreign Media

The facility, called the "mohalla" (or people's) clinic, was opened in July 2015 by Delhi's chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal.

Rupandeep Kaur, 20 weeks pregnant, arrived at a medical clinic looking fatigued and ready to collapse. After being asked her name and address, she was taken to see a physician who reviewed her medical history, asked several questions, and ordered a series of tests including blood and urine. These tests revealed that her fetus was healthy but Kaur had dangerously low hemoglobin and blood pressure levels. The physician, Alka Choudhry, ordered an ambulance to take her to a nearby hospital.

All of this, including the medical tests, happened in 15 minutes at the Peeragarhi Relief Camp in New Delhi, India. The entire process was automated — from check-in, to retrieval of medical records, to testing and analysis and ambulance dispatch. The hospital also received Kaur’s medical records electronically. There was no paperwork filled out, no bills sent to the patient or insurance company, no delay of any kind. Yes, it was all free.

The hospital treated Kaur for mineral and protein deficiencies and released her the same day. Had she not received timely treatment, she may have had a miscarriage or lost her life.

This was more efficient and advanced than any clinic I have seen in the West. And Kaur wasn’t the only patient, there were at least a dozen other people who received free medical care and prescriptions in the one hour that I spent at Peeragrahi in early March.

The facility, called the “mohalla” (or people’s) clinic, was opened in July 2015 by Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal. This is the first of 1,000 clinics that he announced would be opened in India’s capital for the millions of people in need. Delhi’s health minister Satyendar Jain, who came up with the idea for the clinics, told me he believes that not only will they reduce suffering, but also overall costs — because people will get timely care and not be a burden on hospital emergency rooms.

The technology that made the instant diagnosis possible at Peeragarhi was medical device called the Swasthya Slate . This $600 device, the size of a cake tin, performs 33 common medical tests including blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, blood haemoglobin, urine protein and glucose. And it tests for diseases such as malaria, dengue, hepatitis, HIV, and typhoid. Each test only takes a minute or two and the device uploads its data to a cloud-based medical-record management system that can be accessed by the patient.

The Swasthya Slate was developed by Kanav Kahol, who was a biomedical engineer and researcher at Arizona State University’s department of biomedical informatics until he became frustrated at the lack of interest by the medical establishment in reducing the cost of diagnostic testing. He worried that billions of people were getting no medical care or substandard care because of the medical industry’s motivation in keeping prices high. In 2011, he returned home to New Delhi to develop a solution.

Kahol had noted that despite the similarities between medical devices in their computer displays and circuits, their packaging made them unduly complex and difficult for anyone but highly skilled practitioners to use. They were also incredibly expensive — usually costing tens of thousands of dollars each. He believed he could take the same sensors and microfluidics technologies that the expensive medical devices used and integrate them into an open medical platform. And with off-the-shelf computer tablets, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence software, he could simplify the data analysis in a way that minimally-trained front-line workers could understand.

By Jan. 2013, Kahol had built the Swasthya Slate and persuaded the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in Northern India, to allow its use in six underserved districts with a population of 2.1 million people. The device is now in use at 498 clinics there. Focusing on reproductive maternal and child health, the system has been used to provide antenatal care to more than 22,000 mothers. Of these, 277 mothers were diagnosed as high risk and provided timely care. Mothers are getting care in their villages now instead of having to travel to clinics in cities.

It may well be time for America to build mohalla clinics in its cities.

© The Washington Post

59 COMMENTS

  1. Pity, nobody is talking about kanav kohl who developed swasthya plate which made it possible.
    This article is totally biased and feel sad for such blind devotion towards kejriwal. Wait and see how it goes. According to reports, clinics are coming no use because of long waits and bad medicines being provided

    • Which reports are you talking about Adhar Jain.I have not seen any such report. Can you provide link to any of such reports .Ofcourse such reports may be generated by some paid media houses.Still I want to see some of them.Please provide the link.

  2. Nice work Ak, I just felt that this should be cascaded to all over India.
    Also my request was to concentrate more of his attention towards education, people were struggling to make their child educated.Now situations are turning like that only rich can get good education, why it is so?
    Why the education system gone as a commercial market. Where the service is gone. I’m not preferring to go to the cbse, u want the government schools needed to be taken care. If a child from a cbse school does things better why can’t a child from government school can do that. It is not fair in blaming the child without providing the proper guidance. Hope we expect the change, and also if a single man struggles for a change it won’t happen let’s unite our hands to make the change. Actually I’m not belongs to Delhi, but the action of AK makes me to think for a migration to Delhi.

  3. I just read all the comments and here are genuine points to be known/clear the doubts.
    1. Earlier dispensary used to be there of 5 Crs but this mohalla clinic is made in mere 20Lakhs. Great savings of money.
    2. This one opened in 2015 and was test run for 3 months as pilot project. After all the necessary changes and improvements in the model, the next 1000 clinics will be opened by end of Dec 2016. That means every constituency ll have avg 15 mohalla clinics. AAP had only promised 500 mohalla clinics in their manifesto but decision changed later to 100 after pilot project. The objective is to make health care available near to ur door step at max 10 min walk able distance.
    3. This is primary level heath care system just like first aid to most kind of regular internal diseases.
    4. The next level health care system is Aam admi Polyclinic where all the big machinery tests like Xray, ECG, ultrasound is done and consultation by specialists. Total 150 polyclinics will be made in 70 constituencies. The patients can directly come here or ll be referred by first level clinic.
    5. Both 1st and 2nd level health care system will reduce the burden from multi-specialty hospitals which will be used to mainly focus on admitted patients.
    6. The AAP gov has also made the high quality, generic medicines stocks available 24*7 for free for public at all level health care systems by centralizing the online medicine procurement and inventory system which brings transparency and stops stealing of medicines.
    7. All and each patients diagnosis and medical history data is automatically stored/accessed to all from cloud.
    8. The probable future plans are to provide health card and 3 lakhs of health insurance to every Delhi citizen.

  4. Thank you Mr.Kejriwal. Thank you Mr. Kanav Kahol too. There are very few people who return to ‘Swades’ and help out their countrymen. It is definitely not easy to implement your plans and you do need power and support. Glad to know that you have Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Kejriwal has you!

    • The scheme was a copy of Amma Clinic in TN… Go through the article of Washington Post.. Few AAPTards are on panel and you find such articles once in a while…

  5. Nice article. Shocked to believe that medical industry is shying away from introducing such mobile devices because they wanted to keep their brand names and markets in high price. It is an eye-opener for me and I am sure it is for many of you too because we all believe in these big branded corporates who come up with high end machines that throws lot of information which you and me can never understand. Kudos to Kanav Kahol, Great job buddy. Happy that you finally made it here in India and is continually expanding your wilful support to help our country. Politicians & Corporates – Do not politicize this effort, if you can try to promote this, help me with more research capabilites to improve his product.

  6. Does anyone hv a data of how many mohalla clinics opened in last one year or say since july 2015?Pl check and revert.As per my info tht one was the only clinic opened which is not non functional….It was a PR exercise not a practise to be followed..same like different ideas example lokpal bill.sheila dixit’s 370 page file which didnt see the light of the day

  7. nice , really nice , mr kejriwal instead of your stupid add on tv abt your govt achievement , bring such things to people’s notice , u need a better marketing agency . Anyways not have been a very big fan of AAP Govt but such good thing will surely make me one

  8. Well, This may be a good initiative but alas all seems in paper. It all look astounding alas all sham. Delhi has pretty much lost it shine. Horrible roads, lawlessness on streets ( please really do not follow traffic rule anymore, seriously). Side walks are filled with pothole and human faeces and homeless people everywhere from CP to saket to DU… you name it. I am not sure what is this guy really doing ( BTW free hand to do what, he is never at his office)

  9. Well done Kanav. And AK keep it up. We need people who can make it happen. Unlike politicians with big speeches and when big companies flash goodies they forget the deserving people who elected them.

  10. If I am not wrong Hepatitis and HIV results take minimum of 15-20min. Getting results in 1-2 min pouts the whole article under suspicion.

  11. Nice work AK. Only innovative ideas can make you different from other. Now you are also trying technology with solutions as Modi wants and did. Keep good work, don’t involve in controversy.

  12. Excellent example for others to follow. If politicians provide basic infrastructure (education, water, healthcare, electricity, public transportation etc) to people at reasonable, affordable levels, they wouldn’t mind other non-sense from politicians.

  13. First of all thanks to Mr. Kanav Kahol for your will to serve the people. In this world very few will leave the life of US just in order to serve, a big salute to you sir. Thanks to Mr. AK & Mr. Satyendar Jain for setting up such clinics to help the needy. Good Work we need many such people as Kanav & AK in all fields so that India blossoms. India is Great.

  14. having his all hands and feet tied up by LG/ PM it is great achievement. His vision is reflected in what he is doing.

  15. I was not a very big fan of AAP but I have been seeing AAP government has been doing a great job in Delhi and setting an example. I wish they must get the majority in some complete state like Punjab so that they can show their work as much as they can.

  16. job well done.
    if the centre allows them to function without shadow boxing i am sure there will be more good work which the bjp is very unhappy about

  17. All I wanted to say here is that, once sincerely determined through their activities / actions not just empty rhetorics.

    This is how I would define AK and Modi government, who stands where is the responsibility of the recipients to decide and act accordingly.

  18. Highly commendable on the part of the Delhi government . Such people oriented and life saving medical initiatives will directly benefit people . Kejriwal and his government needs to be complimented .

  19. what is the use of this technology if he is not able to hologram himself like our beloved NaMo? or create an app where you can track the world travels of our Hon’ PM…. what AK is doing is a joke in politics

  20. please learn only good things from him not the worst ones. Your country is doing better do not spoil it by completely copying him.

  21. lets all appreciate the excellent and ground breaking work done in this case irrespective of our political affiliations. We should make it a point to reinforce positive developments and encourage others to follow suite. For now AAP is my party of choice.

  22. Thanks both to Mr.Kahol & CM for their unique efforts.
    God bless Arvind and his APP team……not to be as other main-stream political parties too early….new generation young educated and honestly motivated people may find a platform to serve the country in much better way.

  23. Great !!! Finally India is becoming a role model to the world !! Proud being an Indian. Proud to have AKji.

  24. AK at his best. Since he doesn’t come from the typical political school and also highly intellect, we are yet to see great initiatives for the poor and the underprivileged.. Way to go CM.. The others should learn from him, Bet it Congress, BJP or any one else.

  25. Well done AK. Keep it up. Do not delay in implementing this throughout Delhi particularly in the areas where poor and lower middle class people are living. This will be a game changer in public medical health care system.
    I hope that the details given in the story are true !!!

  26. This very very important initiative will take the country reach greater height. Others should follow suit and implement it irrespective of the Political Party you belong to. This would be an excellent service to mankind just like they in Harminder Sahib (24hrs kitchen) Service to Mankind in another direction. Yes I would compare it with because of the beneficiaries in it. The real needy is benefitted. Keep up this good work. This one Service to man kind as a whole. Cheers!

  27. I believe in AK that he is doing good and inshallah i’m expecting with him the same or more better for our nation. we needs one AK in every state then we can be the strongest nation in the world.

    and i want to see one day AK as our PM…

  28. Without understanding how healthcare works on USA, you are promoting Arvind Kejriwal for unpaid publicity.

    • This post is from Washington Post, not NDTV. Would at least they know USA healthcare system? Or andhbhakti has spoiled your logical sense of there was any?

    • Have you tried the system here in US. It is crazy and expensive.. Mohallaclinics is a boon for India.

    • I have a decent understanding of Healthcare system in the US and certainly agree with content of the artcle. However, the title is misleading and tend to give all the credit to Mr. Kejriwal.

  29. somethings commendable,if the patient arrives in Tamilnadu hospital the peon will extract money thereby eating the valuable time in giving treatment.
    Let Punjab elect AAP

  30. I am a critic of Arvind on his opportunity politics. But what said is true, its a very good initiative. Keep it up!

    • The scheme was a copy of Amma Clinic in TN… Go through the article of Washington Post.. Few AAPTards are on panel and you find such articles once in a while…

    • Stop spouting lies. I live in TN and the public medical facilities available there are no match for the 3-level mohalla clinics in Delhi

  31. AAP is the only people’s party as their name suggests.The device invented is an absolute marvel and great boon to poor people. I think all good citizens wanting to serve our country should contribute and may be join their crusade against corruption . I hope this party will contest in the next Lok Sabha elections all over india and come with thumping majority to take india to the hightest level possible.

    cheers AAP

    • When our BJP and its wise supporters are gallantly pursuing core national issues like rashtramata cow and slogans of Bharat Mata ki Jai. then these AAPtards are focussing on unimportant issues like poor man’s healthcare!
      I just cannot understand how can anyone be such a Deshdrohi !
      Shame on AAP and Kejriwal and his foolish AAPtards.

    • very true, Arvind done a great jobs, we feel proud as well. even all Indian should proud that we have got that kind of politician like ArvinD kejriwal…..

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