New Delhi: Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has lauded the Delhi government for providing free primary health care through Mohalla Clinics -- an initiative that is "consistent with the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goal" of the World Health Organization.
In a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Annan has termed the scheme "successful and impressive" and said, "...you have scaled up the provision of universal free health services, most notably in providing free primary healthcare services through your new Mohalla Clinics".
"We understand that this initiative is proving very successful and we commend you on this impressive achievement," said Annan, who heads "The Elders", an independent organisation promoting peace, justice and human rights worldwide.
"We are aware that your administration has implemented a series of health reforms consistent with the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goal," he said, referring to the WHO initiative that all people receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them.
The Delhi government plans to build some 1,000 Mohalla Clinics across the city. At least 107 such clinics have already come up, in both middle class and urban poor neighbourhoods, where people enjoy the facilities of doctors, tests and medicines -- all for free.
When 1,000 Mohalla Clinics are built, Delhi will be a saturated model state for healthcare, he said.
"We believe you could further extend health coverage in Delhi and provide further important lessons for other Indian states embarking on their UHC journeys."
"From experience elsewhere, including in some of our own countries, the Elders believe that a bold move to advance UHC could bring tremendous health and economic benefits to the people of India. It would also, of course, be likely to prove extremely popular."
Kejriwal extended the deadline for setting up of 1,000 Mohalla clinics up to March 31, 2017.