The residents of Gurez Valley Sunday said that the health infrastructure in the valley was not upto mark.
"If God forbid COVID-19 goes out of control here, we will die like animals without anyone treatment," said elderly Abdul Raheem, political activist and sarpanch from Dawar Tehsil of Gurez in north Kashmir's Bandipora district.
The Gurez Valley, 85-km from the district headquarters, remains cut off from the rest of J&K for the winter months owing to heavy snowfall and closure of passes like Razdan Top which connects it to Kashmir.
"The healthcare system here is not up to the mark," Raheem said. "Over the years, political bickering has also made the healthcare system hallow."
"From 2014 our USG machine is gathering dust for want of staff while women have to face hurdles as no gynecologist is posted at the Sub District Hospital Dawar," locals said. "Sufficient oxygen available for the patients at the facility for COVID-19 and related infrastructure is also of no use."
Block Medical officer, Gurez, Dr Tahira said that at the five newly-created NTPHCs no doctor was available and no post had been created.
However, she said that at the two remaining PHCs, two medical officers, one FMPHW and one nursing orderly were present. Dr Tahira said the SDH had six medical officers and one staff for anesthetist and surgeon.
However, she said that the gynecologist, pediatrician and physician posts were vacant at the facility.
"We have USG equipment at the hospital but no post for that has been created yet," she said.
Refuting the claims of inadequate facilities at the COVID-19 facility at Gurez, the BMO said, "We have 40-bedded designated facility form which 10 beds have been fitted with oxygen while 10 others have concentrators attached."
Chief Medical officer Bandipora, Bashir Ahmad Khan said, "All the staff attached at district headquarters has been relieved and they have joined their original postings."
Locals said that in case of any exigency, they have to travel all the way to Srinagar or Bandipora district headquarters to avail required facilities.
Officials at the CMO office said that the entire district had no radiologist.