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Healthcare on crutches in hilly areas, Govt remains unconscious

Projects of immense public importance miss deadlines

No Radiologist in entire Doda, Pharmacist running Trauma Hospital

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Oct 2: Proving as hollow the tall claims of the PDP-BJP Coalition Government about flagging health as priority sector, healthcare facilities are virtually on crutches in majority of the hilly parts of the Jammu and Kashmir. This is mainly because of insensitivity of those at the helm of affairs towards the burning issues of inordinate delay in completion of projects of immense public importance and non-availability of specialized doctors.
The dismal healthcare scenario in mountainous district of Doda, which is also witnessing frequent road accidents, is the glaring examples of health being the most neglected sector even under the present regime. The most astonishing aspect is that the Legislators from the area despite belonging to the ruling party have been feeling helpless in providing better healthcare facilities to the people of their respective constituencies.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that District Hospital Doda, which remains first preference for the ailing persons in the entire district, doesn’t have Radiologist during the past quite long time as a result of which people are being compelled to either visit Udhampur or Jammu for getting ultrasound conducted. “There is no ultrasound facility even in the private set-up in Doda”, they added.
This issue was raised by the MLA from the area a number of times at different forums including District Development Board meeting but till date no Radiologist has been posted in the District Hospital Doda despite repeated assurances from the relevant quarters. “The non-availability of Radiologist is notwithstanding the fact that not only in different ailments ultra-sound is also required to be conducted in each and every case of accident so as to ensure proper diagnosis of the victims”, sources said.
“Most shocking aspect is that Trauma Hospital at Khelani, which was thrown open after inordinate delay, is lacking even doctors”, they said while disclosing that no post of doctor for the Trauma Hospital has been created till date by the Health Department and a Pharmacist is running the affairs of this hospital, which otherwise was opened with the sole objective of providing specialized and prompt treatment to the accident victims and critical patients so as to save their lives.
They further informed that in order to provide improved healthcare facilities to people of remote parts of Doda district, the then Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad on November 15, 2013 laid the foundation stone for construction of 100-beded Sub-District Hospital at Gandoh.
However, the hospital has not been completed till date despite lapse of nearly four years. “Neither Health Department nor project executing agency-J&K Housing Board is in a position to specify time-frame for completion of hospital”, sources said.
When contacted, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Gandoh Dalmir Choudhary admitted that work on the project was yet to be completed. “I think minimum one and half years period is still required for completion of the SDH building”, he added while expressing ignorance about the reasons behind slow pace of work.
Similar is the fate of announcement regarding providing separate Mother and Child Healthcare (MCH) facility at Bhaderwah. Following completion of new building of Sub-District Hospital (SDH) Bhaderwah, it was decided that necessary repairs and renovation will be carried out at old building of SDH for establishment of Mother and Child Healthcare facility.
It was also announced that ANM School sanctioned under Centrally Sponsored Scheme titled “Up-gradation and strengthening of State Nursing Services”, will also be constructed at Bhaderwah for which funds were provided by the Union Government.
Neither full-fledged MCH facility has been made available at old SDH building at Bhaderwah nor substantial progress has been made in construction of ANM School, sources said, adding the inordinate delay in completion of projects of immense importance is notwithstanding the fact that repeated assurances about timely execution of works were extended by the Government in both the Houses of State Legislature during the past two years.
When contacted, Additional Deputy Commissioner Bhaderwah Imam Din, while admitting no progress on MCH facility and ANM School, said, “the proposal might be under the consideration of the Health Department…..let us see when the Health Department gives practical shape to the proposal”.
“If this is the scenario of healthcare facilities in hilly areas how the Government can make claims about flagging health as priority sector?”, sources asked.

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