Public health matters

The government should pull up the concerned and bring accountability to the process

Srinagar, Publish Date: Oct 23 2017 10:44PM | Updated Date: Oct 23 2017 10:44PM

That the administration has long before ceased to be people friendly, and the self-aggrandisement of the bureaucracy is reigning supreme, in the state is a harsh reality. Interestingly, the top bureaucrats have mastered the art of overawing the political executive, from top to bottom, and the officers in the development departments win them over by this way or the other. Lots of ambitious programs for development are announced and publicised just to be dumped after some time. To say that the civil secretariat, with unimplemented projects and schemes, or files of half-done projects, has become the graveyard of development will not be an exaggeration. It is not only the state schemes that are doomed immediately after their execution, even many centrally sponsored schemes are defeated, for inertia and corruption at every wrung in the administration . The worst victims are the common people, while they suffer for basic amenities like good healthcare and drinking water, a good section fattens on the state treasuries with impunity. One of the glaring examples is people suffering for want of hygienic drinking water. The cause for denial of hygienic water and increase in waterborne diseases in the state is not due to any dearth of funds, but corruption and insensitivity of the concerned departments. Had there been lack of funds, roads wouldn't be littered with truckloads of unutilized huge water pipes for years together. The comprehensive study carried out by the Global Burden of Disease (GBD), on the prevalence of the water born diseases published in September 2017 of prestigious journal Lancet should be an eye-opener for the state administration. The study says that unclean water and poor sanitation continue to cause diseases and deaths, especially among children in Jammu and Kashmir. The under-five mortality rate stood at 35 per 1000 births, higher than many states of India and diarrhoea is among the top five causes of under-five mortality. For the public health department failing to ensure potable water to people, there is a phenomenal increase in acute diarrhoea diseases in the state. The data collected under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP), in January 2017, indicates acute diarrhoeal diseases (ADD) having affected between 5217 and 17,146 individuals in the state. Three months later, the number rose to be between 12803 and 33291 and the number of cases of enteric fever (typhoid) was between 1780 and 6586. Instead of coming up with explanatory statements on the dismal performance of the departments connected with providing clean drinking water the government should pull up the concerned department and bringing in accountability in it.