The next step of Gauri Kaul Foundation to promote its ongoing campaign of “No Heart Attack Mission” is to provide diagnosis and management of High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, and related problems like heart attacks, strokes and heart failure at a peripheral centre in South Kashmir. The centre would cater to the people of the Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam districts. Pulwama has a population of around 6.5 lac, Shopian around 2.7 lac and Kulgam around 4.6 lac.
The centre named “Prasad Joo Khan Heart Centre” is located in Village Hawal, Block Rajpora, on the Moghul Road, en route from Pulwama to Shopian town. It is 45 Kms from Srinagar and is preceded by village Nekas and followed by villages Gaberpora and Mughal Pura. Pulwama district is also called the rice and milk bowl of the valley. It is also very well known for the world famous saffron. Hawal, is surrounded by large paddy fields and is a small village with the present population of 416 with 66 homes. This village before 1990 had a Pandit majority with most of the agricultural land belonging to them. Prasad Joo Khan (1886 – 1965) was a very well-known person of this village. He started as a Patwari in that area, which was an inherited position from his father Ganesh Joo and grandfather Sahib Joo Khan. The Khan suffix had come from their association with the Afghan rulers and their predecessors used to look after their revenues. Pathans were not good at maintaining accounts while Kashmiri Pandits were experts in it. He later opened a store which would sell everything from hardware, cloth, tea leaves, herbs, common medicines, Kashmiri bread, kiryana, stationary etc. It was a supermarket of the present days. This was then run by his sons and grandsons, till 1990 when most Pandits had to leave the valley. There, however, is one gentle man Mr Onkar Nath and his family who stayed back and is still there. The Muslim majority has been helping him as best as they can.
The initiative for making this centre was taken by Gauri Kaul Foundation and in particular by its founder director Prof Upendra Kaul (Khan) who happens to be the grandson of Prasad Joo Khan and had a piece of land gifted to him by his uncle Som Nath Khan. The foundation made the centre building, the foundation stone of which was laid by his father Mr P N Kaul on July 14th 2021. The centre is now ready to become functional. It has all the infra structure for non-invasive cardiology and all the support investigations. Top of line echo and ultrasound, stress testing, ambulatory BP and ECG recording. Facility for ECG monitoring for up to a week. The complete biochemistry and point of care blood tests to diagnose heart failure and heart attacks and clots in the lungs. A team of fully trained health care workers which includes, technicians, nurses and doctors including cardiologists available throughout the day. Facility of a fully equipped ambulance to transfer patients needing hospitalisation for acute care. In addition, a facility of tele-medicine has been provided for linking the centre to the villages of Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam districts. This would be of immense value during the harsh winters and the periods when physical movement of patients becomes difficult.
The centre would be linked to the Community Health Centre, Rajpora for patients needing hospitalisation. This smart hospital has good facilities to care for patients who need urgent attention and is very close to the village.
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and their Chairman and MD, Dr Alka Mittal has been instrumental in making it possible by a generous grant through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budget. She has been gracious enough to accept our request to inaugurate it on the 30th of July 2022 in person along with her team. The Lieutenant Governor of J and K, Shri Manoj Sinha has sent a message appreciating this effort and has sent his blessings for the project. The Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama Mr Baseer-ul-Haq Chaudhary, IAS, will be our guest of honour and Brig. Grewal, Commandant Rastriya rifles, South Kashmir, who has given full support will also grace the occasion. Mr Asad Pathan, former CEO of Indian Oil Corporation and an honourable trustee of Gauri Kaul foundation has worked hard along with the CEO Mr Ajaz Rashid to make it possible to get this facility for the health care of South Kashmir under the banner of “No Heart Attack Mission”. Ummeed Foundation and its CEO Mr Parvez Farid, also went out of his way to cooperate in getting the funding for getting the equipment in time. For me it is a dream come true to return to my ancestral home and giving back in the form of better heart care.
Prof Upendra Kaul is founder Director, Gauri Kaul Foundation. He is Recipient of Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy award
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.