A medic aids a suspected COVID-19 patient to get down from an ambulance. | PTI
A medic aids a suspected COVID-19 patient to get down from an ambulance in West Bengal (representational image) | PTI
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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is preparing a plan to launch 2,000 mobile clinics to attend to non-Covid patients under a new scheme, tentatively titled ‘Jan Aarogya Rath’, ThePrint has learnt.

The scheme is likely to be launched in 20 cities in the first phase. Under this, high-tech GPS-based mobile vans will mimic a doctor’s clinic, a pathology laboratory and a pharmacy.

The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, which oversees the operations of the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), is working on the proposal after receiving the directions from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to work on an idea for non-Covid patients who are postponing their visits to clinics due to Covid fears.

“The scheme, which is likely to be known as Jan Aarogya Rath, is in the initial stages of the discussion. The proposal has been made and will be fine tuned further. Within 10-15 days, it will be sent to PMO for the final approval,” a senior government official told ThePrint on condition of anonymity.

“There will be a doctor, phlebotomist and a pharmacist in the van. Everything — consultation, blood test and medicine dispensing — will be done free of cost using the funds from PM-CARES,” said the official.

The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) Fund was created in March for combating and executing the relief efforts against the Covid outbreak, but it has been in a controversy over questions of transparency.

“We have made three models on which the scheme can function after we received the directions from PMO to look out for an idea on how non-Covid patients can be helped in getting treatment options outside the healthcare facilities,” the official added.

The proposal was discussed Wednesday with the internal staff of the ministry in a meeting chaired by Mansukh Madaviya, Minister of State, Chemicals and Fertilisers.


Also read: 6 months on, this is what Indian doctors have learnt about Covid and its treatment


‘Depends on PMO approval’

Under the scheme, the government plans to tie up with the doctors of top hospitals including the super-specialty chains such as Fortis Healthcare, Medanta, Max Healthcare and others.

“For laboratories also, we plan to tie up with the known names whereas for pharmacy, we have government-run Jan Aushadhi outlets,” the officer quoted above said.

In the initial phase, the plan is to launch the scheme in 20 cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Surat, Lucknow and Ghaziabad.

“As the functioning of the scheme would grow smooth, we plan to expand it across the country,” said the official. “All the discussions are in the preliminary stage and it all depends on the approvals from PMO.”


Also read: More ICU beds, quick action on severe cases — Expert panels on how to check Delhi Covid deaths


 

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