Health Deptt fortifying healthcare facilities for annual Amarnath yatra

Bed capacity to be increased to over 350, staff to work in 4 shifts

Irfan Tramboo

SRINAGAR, June 6: As the Annual Amarnath yatra is set to commence next month, this year’s pilgrimage will witness fortified healthcare facilities, including increased bed capacity and four shifts of healthcare personnel, ensuring seamless services and improved resource management.
Officials told Excelsior that the bed capacity has been significantly expanded from 100 beds on each side last year to over 350 beds on both sides this year. This step, they said, has been taken to ensure the availability of healthcare services to a larger number of pilgrims visiting the holy cave.
To facilitate effective service delivery, healthcare staff on yatra duty will work in four different shifts, enhancing the management of human resources and ensuring seamless medical assistance to those in need.
“With the yatra this year spanning 60 days, necessary arrangements have been strengthened. The total requirement of healthcare staff is nearly 700 and they will work in coordination in four shifts for effective service delivery,” officials explained.
They further emphasized that the manpower management system is already in place, highlighting that working in shifts will further enhance their efficiency.
Additionally, officials stated that other States will also contribute healthcare staff and specialists from major AIIMS-level hospitals across the country will be deputed to provide medical services during the yatra.
“The steps have been taken to ensure the availability of healthcare services to more people reaching here to pay their visit to the holy cave; we are expecting more people to undertake the pilgrimage, and the arrangements have been made on those lines,” said the officials.
It is to be noted here that the Health Department has already conducted a survey of the area and established camps near the Holy Cave and Panjtarni.
Director Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, told Excelsior that the preparations are underway and stated that the specialist doctors will remain available for enhanced patientcare during the yatra.
“There will be a strengthened and increased presence of human resources; also, the Health Department’s initiatives, which include Save Heart and Save Brain, will also remain operational,” he said.
Furthermore, the construction of 100-bedded DRDO hospitals is also underway and will be completed well before the commencement of the annual Yatra.
These hospitals, operational last year as well, aim to provide the best possible healthcare services to the pilgrims who often experience health issues due to the altitude of the track leading to the Holy Cave.
Each bed in these facilities will have piped oxygen supply, along with the availability of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO), which is not commonly found in other healthcare facilities in J&K.
Officials further highlighted that hospitals along the Yatra route are also being strengthened, with necessary measures being taken to enhance the entire setup.
“Oxygen booths, medical aid centres, and emergency aid centres will be strategically placed along the track. Approximately 55 locations have been equipped with necessary facilities, and nearly 30 ambulances, with additional units available for contingencies.”