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State to have 35 mobile health clinics, down from 109

Sandeep Moudgal, Bangalore, Sept 14, 2013, DHNS: 23:59 IST
The Karnataka Health System Development and Reform Project has decided to truncate the existing 109 mobile health clinics to only 35, following recommendations made by Dr Nanjundappa Committee to strike a balance with the available primary healthcare centres in the State.

The three-member committee under the Commissioner for Health and Family Welfare felt that the requirement for mobile clinics was in only 35 taluks spread across 18 districts.

The taluks were identified based on topography and access of citizens to medical care.
“But more importantly, the committee took cognisance of the Nanjundappa committee report and decided that most backward of the 35 taluks required these facilities,” NRHM Director Suresh Mohammed said.

Further, Karnataka Health System Development and Reform Project under the National Rural Health Mission will identify the most backward of taluks in 18 districts to call for tenders for mobile health clinics (MHCs).

The 35 new MHCs will concentrate mostly on child care, elderly and pre-natal care in these remote hamlets. Every day, MHCs are expected to cover at least two villages and work for six days by covering 12 villages in total. Each of these MHCs presently cost Rs 1.56 lakh per month to run.

As many as 124 MHCs were started in five phases since 2011 to provide free healthcare to citizens residing in inaccessible hamlets across the State. Armed with a doctor, two staff nurses, a pharmacist and an attender, the MHCs were outsourced to several medical firms which bid for the project funded by the World Bank.

However, with the withdrawal of few firms, as also doubts as to whether benefits reached genuine beneficiaries, the MHC numbers began to dwindle.

Though it was mooted that the MHCs be wrapped up, the scheme was persisted with due to its popularity, with as many as 109 of them still serving people. These will be running till November following an extension of six months by NRHM.

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