Vast population remains deprived of Union Govt’s scheme
H&ME Deptt fails to create even basic infrastructure
JAMMU, Sept 24: Vast population has remained deprived of the benefit of the Union Government’s vital scheme as despite repeated announcements the Health and Medical Education Department has failed to set-up Dialysis Centres in several District Hospitals of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Most shocking aspect is that even creation of basic infrastructure has not begun till date although an amount of Rs 10 lakh is available in respect of each of these District Hospitals.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the year 2016 launched Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme under the National Health Mission to provide free dialysis services to the poor patients. Under this Programme, financial assistance is provided to the States/Union Territories for establishment of Dialysis Centres in the hospitals.
In a high-level meeting held on December 26, 2019, the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department Atal Dulloo had announced that all District Hospitals of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir would have functional Dialysis Centres by July 2020 under Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme although this facility is already available in several District Hospitals.
He had admitted that these centres will help in providing improved access to dialysis services at the District Headquarters and to reduce impoverishment on account of out-of-pocket expenditure for patients, who have to undergo important life-saving procedure. It was revealed in the meeting that Dialysis Centre for District Hospital Samba was approved in 2019-20 financial year while the Dialysis Centres at the District Hospitals of Ramban, Reasi, Ganderbal and Shopian were proposed to be established in the 2020-21 financial year.
Fixing deadline of July 2020 for providing Dialysis Centres for these District Hospitals, the Financial Commissioner had announced that District Hospitals of Anantnag and Baramulla will be provided extra 4 dialysis machines each to cater to the huge rush of patients.
Prior to the meeting held in December 2019, announcements were made a number of times about setting up of Dialysis Centres in left-over District Hospitals.
However, the Health and Medical Education Department has failed to meet the deadline for setting up of Dialysis Centres in the District Hospitals of Samba, Reasi and Ramban in Jammu province and Ganderbal and Shopian in Kashmir valley although Rs 10 lakh each in respect of these District Hospitals was available for creation of basic infrastructure, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
As per the information gathered by EXCELSIOR from these District Hospitals even no steps have been initiated to create infrastructure, which is required for making any Dialysis Centre functional in any hospital. “There are specific conditions under Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme without which Dialysis Centre cannot be established but due to dilly-dallying approach of the Health and Medical Education Department there is absolutely no focus on meeting the pre-requisites”, sources said.
The Medical Superintendents of Samba, Reasi and Ramban District Hospitals, when contacted, admitted that there was dire need of having Dialysis Centres in their respective hospitals, adding “we have identified the suitable location within our hospitals for establishment of Dialysis Centres but unless Mechanical Engineering Department creates new infrastructure or carries out modifications in the existing one no further step can be initiated”.
“It would be only after creation of basic infrastructure that inspections will be conducted by the teams which may include officers of Union Ministry and then process of installation of specialized beds and dialysis machines will begin”, they said while expressing inability to specify time-frame for establishment of Dialysis Centres in these District Hospitals.
In response to a question, they said, “we have very little role to play….all what we can do is to earmark suitable space and request the Mechanical Engineering Department to create the required infrastructure, which we have already done”.
When contacted, Director Health Services Kashmir Dr Sameer Mattoo confirmed that in the District Hospitals of Ganderbal and Shopian creation of basic infrastructure has not begun till date. “We are hopeful of early start of work so that these hospitals get much-needed Dialysis Centres”.
“In the absence of Dialysis Centres in these hospitals the people suffering from end-stage kidney problems are compelled to visit Government Medical College and Hospital Jammu or hospitals in private set-up both within the Union Territory and outside Jammu and Kashmir to get dialysis facility”, sources said.
Due to dilly-dallying approach of the Health and Medical Education Department vast population has remained deprived of benefit of the important scheme of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, they added.
It is pertinent to mention here that dialysis is needed when one develops an end-stage kidney failure and this procedure maintains balance of body by removing waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body; keeps a safe level of certain chemicals in blood, such as potassium, sodium and bicarbonate and help in controlling blood pressure.