Arvind Kejriwal’s image of “all words no action” has once again been confirmed by hard facts. According to NITI Aayog’s Health Index Report 2019, Delhi ranked fifth among the seven Union territories on overall healthcare performance. The capital has slipped down the health index by 2 positions since 2015, a huge disgrace that the Kejriwal government may have to answer for.
This drop is contrary to Arvind Kejriwal’s tall claims with regards to the quality and efficiency of healthcare provided to the citizens living in Delhi. He had focused his campaign on three issues of water, health care, and education and other basic amenities. Unfortunately, he has failed on all three fronts. Presently, the water crisis in Delhi is worsening and almost every report has exposed the claims of Kejriwal government over education reforms.
Now, NITI Aayog’s report on healthcare in Delhi has debunked Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s failures in improving healthcare in Delhi. According to the report, Delhi’s composite index score came down to 49.42 out of 100 in 2017, a reduction of 0.61 from 2015. The score is calculated on 23 parameters which capture the healthcare requirements ideally required to be taken care of by the state. The parameters included important issues such as immunization coverage, sex ratio, data captured, neonatal mortality, and infrastructure and availability of human resources. Delhi performed the worst in the key inputs category which monitors vacancies in government hospitals and clinics, primary healthcare centres that function 24×7, cardiac care units and hospitals that have been quality assured.
According to the report, Delhi reported zero 24×7 primary health centres as against the required number. Moreover, the vacancies also contributed much to Delhi’s disgraceful rank. Vacancies of staff nurses in primary health centres and community health centres went from 40.8% in 2015 to 46.9% in 2017. Vacancies of medical officers in primary health centres also went up considerably from 14.2% in 2015 to 26.3% in 2017.
This is the condition after the AAP government had boasted about their performance in the health sector. The government has reportedly established several Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics (AAMCs) to look into primary healthcare but which do not function efficiently and have delivered no worthwhile impact, going by NITI Aayog’s report. The clinics are fraught with the shortage in medicines and low and delayed salaries of the medical staff. The clinics were supposed to conduct 212 tests for free, but, very limited tests are actually being conducted. Several of them have been dysfunctional, lying vacant and unattended due to lack of doctors and other medical facilities. Moreover, they have just opened 189 such clinics, as against the promise of 1000.
This, however, does not hold back Arvind Kejriwal from boasting and making tall claims to befool citizens. Recently, in a bid to spar with the centre, Kejriwal had written to the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, claiming that the Delhi government’s health scheme is “ten times bigger and comprehensive” than the Centre’s flagship Ayushman Bharat Scheme. Delhi has repeatedly refused to implement the Central government’s much-admired Ayushman Bharat scheme.
Far from transforming the healthcare system, the AAP government has left the state in a condition worse than it was when Congress went out of power in Delhi. NITI Aayog’s report has brought to light the stark reality of the poor healthcare condition in the capital. It may be tough for Arvind Kejriwal to make tall claims in the face of hard facts and government data made public for all citizens to see and assess the Delhi government’s shortcomings.