Ailing Healthcare

Greater Kashmir / Greater Kashmir
Publish Date: Dec 12 2012 12:00PM

The sorry spectacle of Valley’s healthcare sector is a major concern for one and all. It points not just to the acute physical infrastructural incapacity, but also underlines the scarcity of human resource and lack of policy measures in the sector. A series of stories in Greater Kashmir has brought home the consistent indifference of the successive governments towards this vital sector, some important healthcare services in the Valley even lack the basic and critical healthcare components. In some cases the infrastructure and other healthcare components in the hospitals have turned too old to serve the full purpose. The centralized oxygen supply plant in Valley’s oldest hospital, SMHS, for example, is almost on the verge of collapsing. Of the two CT scans in the hospital only one is functioning, with its 3-bed unit surgical ICU failing to cater to soaring rush of surgical patients. The condition of other GMC associated hospitals is no better.  In the Valley’s largest and only trauma hospital, Bone and Joint Hospital, Barzulla, there is no MRI and CT scan facility. The hospital does not have a digital X-ray machine. In the chest disease hospital, parched atop a hillock in Srinagar, patients have to climb stairs and slopes for want of chairs, to visit a doctor. The absence of CT scan and MRI forces patients to visit private clinics. Its state-of-the-art ICU is defunct due to shortage of staff. Valley’s lone maternity hospital with 700 beds perforce caters double to its capacity in absence of any other such facility in Kashmir. The hospital with no ICU and critical care ambulance faces shortage of assistant surgeons, nurses and sanitation staff. The condition of some other hospitals is even worse. There may have been pockets of excellence, but by and large the results are disappointing. In such conditions, if the patients improve, it is a miracle. At the root of the problem are the deficient funding and lack of policy measures. World over the health experts have underlined five As for the healthcare facilities to satisfy: Availability, Accessibility, Affordability, Acceptability and Accountability. Can our healthcare institutes somewhere in the foreseeable future think these?