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Gauri Kaul Foundation and Expansion of Heart Care in South Kashmir in 2024

The Prasad Joo Khan Heart Centre (PJKHC) is a beacon of hope for those who seek a healthier, happier life at their doorstep
01:00 AM Jan 17, 2024 IST | Prof Upendra Kaul
gauri kaul foundation and expansion of heart care in south kashmir in 2024
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A state of art health care centre built by Gauri Kaul Foundation (GKF) has been in existence since 2022 in village Hawal, near Rajpora, District Pulwama. The centre is equipped by all the non- invasive cardiology facilities like electro-cardiography, echocardiography, and equipment for stress testing funded by a grant from the corporate social responsibility (CSR) g funds of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). In addition, several point of care blood tests are done to promptly diagnose serious cardiac ailments.

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The centre is located on the Mughal Road about 45 Kms from Srinagar and is surrounded by a plethora of villages namely Nikas, Arihal, Gabarpora and Mughalpora etc. Hawal is a picturesque village of Pulwama district. It now has a good connectivity not only to Srinagar but also to Rajouri and Poonch districts, thanks to the Moghul Road. However much more needs to be done in the health sector in the whole area. This centre set up by GKF is named after late Pandit Prasad Joo Khan, a very well-known personality of this area between the years 1920 and 1965. He was born in village Hawal and started his career as a patwari which he inherited from his father in a nearby village Shrimal, but gave up this bureaucratic position and opened a small general store in the village which eventually became a supermarket of that time and people from neighbouring villages would also come to buy things from this shop. He was a deeply religious man very good at reading and writing Urdu and Persian. He passed away in 1965 at the age of 82, leaving behind a legacy of seven sons and three daughters. Dr U Kaul is his grandson who is the founder director of the GKF.

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The clinic is the result of a deep study of non-communicable disease patterns across several districts of Jammu and Kashmir. There is a high prevalence of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases in the whole area. The aim of the centre is simple yet profound: "No More Heart Attacks", by diagnosing risk factors and managing them using modern medical methods. The centre is open 6 days a week with specialists from various specialities available throughout the day.  Dr U Kaul imparts his services on one full day every week. There is bee line of patients coming not only from villages of Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam districts but also from Rajouri and Poonch. They find it convenient to come via the Moghul Road through Shopian. It thus caters to the needs of a population of around 15 lacks.

With specialized care for patients suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, the Prasad Joo Khan Heart Centre (PJKHC) is a beacon of hope for those who seek a healthier, happier life at their doorstep for getting benefitted   from this exceptional facility. The centre besides heart care has multi-speciality services available which are planned to be extended to trauma, obstetrics and Gynaecology etc. The Gauri Old Age Mission, also associated with this centre, provides exclusive treatment to senior citizens, ensuring that their golden years are filled with comfort and care. Dr Zubair Saleem heads this old age program.

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Expansion Plans of 2024:

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In order to extend its services a mobile cardiac lab named “heart clinic on wheels” will be started this year by May. It will consist of a spacious van cum ambulance including all accessories and customised according to needs of a mobile cardiac van. It would have a portable rugged ECG and echocardiography machine along with point of care blood tests to quickly diagnose heart failure, injury to heart muscle as occurs in a heart attack and also tests to assess blood clotting. Blood samples for routine biochemistry will be drawn and analysed at the hub centre at PJKHC in Hawal. This mobile cardiac Lab will also conduct screening camps in the remote areas of South Kashmir and selected schools. The camps will be advertised through local media channels and community leaders. The mobile heart clinic will station at different sites in the districts of Pulwama and Shopian. Indian Oil Corporation has funded this Clinic on Wheels.

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Given the escalating prevalence of intravenous (IV) drug addiction in the valley, a concerning link to heart-related issues, particularly infective endocarditis, has emerged. In response, our Heart Clinic on Wheels aims to forge partnerships with public hospitals engaged in drug deaddiction and rehabilitation efforts. This collaboration aims to implement systematic screenings for heart problems among IV drug abusers, ensuring timely intervention and holistic healthcare management.

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Those diagnosed with complications of high BP, diabetes and related cardiac problems will be referred to the PJKHC, Hawal, Pulwama. The clinic on wheels will also provide training opportunities to local healthcare professionals in the latest non-invasive cardiac diagnostic techniques.  GKF will take full responsibility for ensuring the safety and security of the van. It will be manned by experienced and efficient doctors and paramedical staff from Srinagar, and will travel to various underserved parts of South Kashmir, providing much-needed medical assistance to the people.

PJKHC also has a tie up with St Johns Medical college, Bengaluru to partner with the Strategies for non-communicable disease prevention in select populations in different regions of India (SUPPORT) program. The aim being to select vulnerable populations of any gender aged more than 30 years with the objective of evaluating the effect of multiple interventions on non-communicable disease risk factors at six months and to build capacity at the community level for implementation of prevention strategies.

The population of Hawal and the neighbouring Gujjar camps will be screened by high BP, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking and an ECG will be taken for all. The persons with these risk factors will be treated and counselled and 6 months outcomes will be noted. The impact of these interventions will be noted and the community will be trained for capacity building. If found to be beneficial the program may be adapted and scaled to government level or private sector for continuity of the benefits. Dr’s Denis and Freeda Xavier the brain behind SUPPORT have visited the PJKHC and the village Hawal.

But what truly sets PJKHC apart is its commitment to preserving the memory of the grand old man Prasad Joo Khan, who still provokes nostalgic memories for the people of that region. It is the culmination of the efforts of GKF which believes in the power of healing and the importance of giving back to the community. It is a shining example of what can be achieved when knowledge, compassion, and generosity come together. It is a place of hope, healing, and inspiration – a beacon of light in the fight against heart disease.

Acknowledgements: GKF is very appreciative of the support given by ONGC, IOL, Mr Asad Pathan and Mrs Alka Mittal, Mr Monu Bhatnagar and Mr Arif Akhtar for their personal guidagnce and the generous support for making the project possible.

Prof Upendra Kaul, Founder Director Gauri Kaul foundation

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