Deficient health care infrastructure

Requisite health care facilities in rural and semi urban areas being in a state of ” on deferred priorities” for Health and Medical Education Department can be gauged by a few instances where either the projects having been approved and the preliminaries even having been initiated , the same are nowhere to be seen to be taken benefit of, by the people or the facilities required at the bare minimum levels even, not provided. Fairly known and famous tourist resort Pahalgam in Anantnag district of south Kashmir is a glaring example of how, for an area covering a population of over 3000 people , just a Primary Health Care Centre is all in the name of health care facilities provided by the Government. However, having realised the dire need of augmenting the existing inadequate facilities and to have a Sub-District hospital , the go-slow and deferred mode adopted by the concerned department in which such a 50 bedded hospital promised, sanctioned , site for construction asked for to be chosen etc still remaining confined to papers only. It is despite the fact that the Hospital is very urgently needed by the people of the area and even needed by tourists visiting in quite a good number on constant basis the beautiful resort situated in enchanting hills and lush green forests .
When we talk of ancillary factors contributing to promoting tourism , provisions for such basic healthcare facilities are one of those factors. Inordinate delays, we agree, being more of the fait accompli and an integral part of such mini but important projects to come up in Jammu and Kashmir , but a period of nine years is preposterously quite a long delay as it was in 2012 when approval for construction of the hospital was accorded by the Government. Needless to add, to make the best use of the unique advantages provided by the nature to Pahalgam, there should have been a Hospital of a different type in a particular type of ambiance as a Health Resort, quite eco friendly, offering specialised treatment facilities to attract more people for treatment from the UT and from other parts of the country . That could generate more economic activities both related to tourism as well as related to healthcare area but the question being of taking no such bold initiative for wider gains on short and long term basis is reflective of the fate of the proposed 50 bedded sub-district hospital too being in the state of oblivion.
Similarly, yet another instance of the construction of the proposed 50 bedded Sub-District Hospital at Qaimoh in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district at a cost of Rs.19 crore in lieu of the existing Primary Health Centre (by up-grading it) is incomplete even after 17 years of its approval by the Government . The usual problem of funds shortage is cited for such a long haul of delay as in the year 2016 for the same reason, work on it was suspended after it kept dragging on since 2003 when construction on it was started. We would reiterate that any project, more so related to peoples’ healthcare, should only be approved when assured funding on constant basis and commensurate with stages of construction, are speedily released . What happens in such a scenario that whatever funds are utilised till the work finally is halted, virtually are of no use since utility factor is missing and virtually is a loss venture with double edged offshoot of inordinate delay plus cost escalation. Moreover , in such conditions, manipulation of funds of whatever measure released, cannot be ruled out as is suspected in the instant case too. Why should such an insouciant approach be there of the concerned authorities and with no accountability , is the moot question.
The other half hearted and indifferent policy of the concerned authorities due to whichever reasons, is that wherever there exists a healthcare facility especially in rural areas, the same is scantly manned by the personnel as can be seen in the case of Community Health Centre (CHC) Gandoh Bhalessa which in turn, tells upon the patient care involving more than a dozen villages ”covered” by the CHC. There are no specialist doctors available here resulting in the patients and their near ones facing difficulties of different hues. The authorities in the Health and Medical Education department must explain the reasons of not filling vacant posts in the CHC numbering 12 . Is it that those Doctors posted to this centre are only on papers while being kept ”attached ” with Hospitals in the city or nearby towns? Proper inquiries must be conducted to penalise those who authorise such sham and proxy postings as against actual working in addition to make it obligatory for every Doctor to serve, at least once in one’s career, a rural area for three years. Whatever improvement or increase in Medical /Health infrastructure is done , unless on equity basis and on full parity, rural and semi urban areas are made the partakers of the advantages and utilities of that infrastructure, it all means a zilch.