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Rural health sector craves attention

Community Health Centre (CHC) Kralgund in the Qaziabad area of Kupwara is a case in point.
06:03 AM Jul 06, 2024 IST | Syed Rizwan Geelani
rural health sector craves attention
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Srinagar, July 5: The rural healthcare system in Kashmir is craving government attention as most of the healthcare facilities are either without adequate staff and have not been adequately equipped with the required machines.


Despite the government’s efforts to address these issues, the crisis persists, leaving the residents in remote areas without adequate healthcare facilities.


Some health centres established in easily accessible areas also do not have adequate staff and machinery which takes a toll on patient care.


Community Health Centre (CHC) Kralgund in the Qaziabad area of Kupwara is a case in point.


The CHC has a gynecologist but the government has not yet posted a permanent doctor there.


The health authorities have made a temporary arrangement under which a gynaecologist, whose posting is at Langate, is deputed once a week to CHC Kralgund.


Recently, the residents took up the issue with the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Kupwara during his visit to the healthcare facility but the authorities are yet to post a gynaecologist here.


“We approached both the CMO and BMO and put forth our grievance but the issue has not been addressed yet. The gynaecologist remains available here once a week,” said Javid Ahmad, a resident. Also, USG is done only once a week at CHC Kralgund as the department has not posted a sonographer at the CHC.

Similarly, the New Type Primary Healthcare Centre (NTPHC), Ashpora, is also facing a dearth of doctors which takes a toll on the patients’ healthcare.

Besides this, the complaints about the lack of facilities in other remote areas of Kupwara pour in with residents complaining about the dearth of doctors and the non-availability of machines.

The NTPHC in Cheerkote in the Lolab area of north Kashmir's Kupwara district is grappling with a severe shortage of staff and essential facilities, leaving the local population at the receiving end.

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

However, in 2019, triggered by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the doctors were shifted from the PHC 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.

“Right 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 is out of focus of the authorities,” he said.

CMO Kupwara, Dr Ramzan told Greater Kashmir that the NTPHC Cherkote had two doctors and there were no complaints about patient care.

“Our PHCs in Machil, Keran, and other areas have adequate doctors and other staff,” he said.

Also, Khag tehsil in central Kashmir’s Budgam district is grappling with a severe healthcare crisis, as according to locals, it remains the only tehsil without a Sub-District Hospital.

The residents of this area said that all the neighbouring tehsil headquarters had better healthcare facilities despite having a smaller population than Khag.

The government established a Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Khag some 60 years ago which, locals said, had failed to undergo essential upgrades to reach the level of a Sub District Hospital.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Director Health Services Kashmir Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather said, “I will look into the issue.”