The mobile clinics run by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) are working well beyond their capacity as cases of viral infections in Delhi have risen suddenly in the past few weeks.
The municipal body had launched 12 vans on September 5, three each for four of its zones. Each van, a makeshift arrangement in a Maruti eight-seater van, carries a General Duties Medical Officer (doctor) and a pharmacist. These clinics offer free treatment and medicine for dengue and chikungunya.
Doctors working in mobile clinics say that over 90% of the patients they examine complain of excessive pain and fever. The vans work between 9 am and 12:30 pm . They carry machines to check blood pressure, sugar and cartons of medicines such as common fever tablets, anti-allergics, cough syrups and pain relief ointments.
“We can’t do checks for dengue or chikungunya. But, we refer the patient to the hospital based on his symptoms,” said a doctor deputed in a van in Ali Nagar, an illegal settlement on the outskirts of south Delhi.
Ali Nagar does not have a government hospital or clinics and the area is notorious for quacks. In the two-and-half hour that the van is stationed there, 209 patients are examined by the doctor.
“According to World Health Organization not more than twenty patients should be examined by a doctor in a day. But the condition is very bad in areas like this which does not have health facilities,” said the doctor at the mobile clinic.
A medical officer at the SDMC hospital in Lajpat Nagar, from where the van travels to Ali Nagar, said, “I suspect that of the over 200 cases that were examined today, more than 50 had symptoms of chikungunya. However, they need not be admitted to the hospital,” he said.
Residents, however, say the mobile clinics are “damage control” by the SDMC.
Ali Nagar resident Joginder, 32, said, “More than two hundred people here have body pain or viral fever. Despite mosquito breeding in the area, the corporation did not do fogging to prevent it.”
Residents said earlier when the vans visited the area, there were hardly any queues. But now, not all those who queue-up get to meet the doctor.
“It is 12:30 pm. We will have to leave. Even if we stay here till evening, people would keep pouring in,” said the driver of the van.