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Health centre in Lolab faces shortage of staff, essentials

Locals decry official neglect, demand urgent intervention
01:47 AM Mar 13, 2024 IST | Syed Rizwan Geelani
health centre in lolab faces shortage of staff  essentials
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Baramulla, Mar 12: The New Type Primary Healthcare Centre (NTPHC) in Cheerkote in Lolab Valley of Kupwara district is grappling with a severe shortage of staff and essential facilities, leaving the local population at the receiving end.

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Established in 2011, the locals said that the NTPHC was once a lifeline for the communities residing in Cheerkote, Khumriyal, Dooniwari, Kanthpora, and neighbouring villages.

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However, the situation turned worse in 2019, triggered by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic following which the doctors were shifted from the Public Health Centre and posted at other hospitals.

“The entire staff, along with the sanctioned ambulance service, was unnecessarily transferred from the healthcare facility to other locations, leaving the hospital in Cheerkote understaffed and ill-equipped to handle the healthcare needs of the population," the local Lambardar said. “As of now, only one MBBS doctor has been posted in the hospital for over 3 years. Despite our persistent efforts and representations to the Health Department, the NTPHC remains out of focus of the authorities.”

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The locals said that after their persistent efforts, a doctor was posted at the NTPHC on a rotation basis.

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“But the doctor did not follow the weekly roster which compelled patients to seek medical attention elsewhere," the locals said.

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The local population of Cheerkote and other adjoining areas are now contending with the consequences of this healthcare crisis.

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The absence of essential medical personnel, including a physician, a dental surgeon, a BUMS doctor, a pharmacist, and an ambulance driver has left the hospital on crutches.

“The laboratory operates without a technician, the X-ray plant lacks an X-ray technician, and even the position of a radiologist is vacant,” another resident said.

The locals said that the repeated submissions of representations to the Health Department by the community had yielded no tangible solutions, exacerbating the already precarious situation.

“The NTPHC is gasping for resources and personnel. The patient care has taken a severe hit which has left the residents at the receiving end,” the local said.

The residents of Cheerkote and other adjoining areas have urged the authorities in the Health and Medical Education (H&ME) Department for their urgent intervention to address the acute shortage of staff and essential facilities plaguing the NTPHC.

Director of Health Service Kashmir, Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather told Greater Kashmir that the issue would be resolved at the earliest.

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