In the last four years, the health sector has witnessed a significant boost in terms of expenditure in various schemes. In 2017-18, for example, the government spent 13.3 percent of its funds meant for all schemes on medical and public health scheme. In FY17 and FY16, the figure stood at 14.7 percent and 14.6 percent of total expenditure on all schemes, respectively. Officials said maximum thrust was on adding more beds. The number of beds per 1,000 people in Delhi is 2.9 when World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 5 beds per 1000 people. Also, a significant pie of the government’s expenditure in health sector is being spent on schemes like 100 percent availability of medicine and consumables in public hospitals, free tests and surgery in private facilities if the same is not available in a particular time period at a government facility. According to Economic Survey of Delhi 2018-19, around 12 hospitals are being constructed, or are in the planning stage.
This includes hospitals in Burari, Ambedkar Nagar, Chhatarpur, Dwarka, Madipur and Sarita Vihar, among others. Though land for most of these hospital projects were identified over a decade ago, they remained stuck due to paucity of funds and lack of approval. Officials said the current dispensation was trying to complete them and, in some cases, boost bed strength. “The hospital at Ambedkar Nagar, for example, was to have 200 beds. But it has been enhanced to 600 now. Nearly 79 percent of the project is complete,” an official said. The Delhi government has also decided to remodel around 16 existing hospitals and add 7000 new beds there. Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, for example, will get 362 more beds. However, the pace of work towards building 1000 mohalla clinics and 150 polyclinics, two of AAP government’s pet projects, remains slow. So far, only about 166 mohalla clinics and 54 polyclinics are functional. “There are a number of reasons for this, such as nonavailability of land, shortage of manpower and multiplicity of agencies,” an official said. – TOI