The next “Healthy Heart Project” moves to the Community Health Centre (CHC) Rajpora, Pulwama on 27th November. The goal being to optimize the treatment of patients suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure with or without heart disease. All the selected 100 patients from different blocks of the district would have a body mass index (BMI) measurement, BP recording by a calibrated instrument, blood sugar, serum lipid profile and an ECG done. Like in our previous camps, we will evaluate the degree of control and the prescription patterns. In addition, we will look for documenting new patients with diabetes and lipid disorders. It will also give us an opportunity to compare the findings with those seen at Kupwara and Budgam.
An added attraction for me will be to interact with the people of my ancestral area, Hawal, which is one of the 42 villages situated in Keller (Shadimarg) Block. It used to be a very picturesque village with beautiful view of snow-clad mountains. This small predominantly Pundit village with not more than 50 families, were living in complete harmony with Muslims, who were basically artisans, agricultural peasants and running other services for the residents. The village now is unfortunately a ghost of what it used to be. At present it has a population of around 700 persons with only one Pundit family of Mr Onkar Nath Bhat, a retired person from horticulture department whose children are working in the village only. The literacy rate of this village which is only 45 kms from Srinagar is just 50 percent.
My grandfather, Prasad Joo Khan (Pundit Khan) had a shop, the structure is still there as an antique. It was a unique place functioning as a supermarket since 1916, serving more than 30 surrounding villages up to the Shopian area which is about 10 kms away. The shop (Khan’s shop) had almost everything needed for a village life those days: cloth, tea, pulses, edible oils, ghee, vanaspati, salt, sugar, spices, hardware building material for houses, medicines (Unani and allopathic), stationary, breads of all kinds, eggs, saffron, dried fish, tobacco and cigarettes, foot wear. Terms of transaction were, credit, cash as well as barter (paddy was the most accepted currency followed by eggs). This supermarket gave birth to 2 big wholesale shops in Srinagar, one each in Maharaja Bazar and Hari Singh High Street respectively run by my uncles.
The venue of our camp is Rajpora, which is a town and a tehsil capital of the district with a population of around 7000 people. It has an active CHC, which recently came into news as the first such centre where a successful hysterectomy was done. All the support for the camp and selection of cases is being done through the good offices of the CMO, Dr Haseena Mir, and the BMO of Rajpora, Dr Javeed Ahmed Bhat, and their teams. The financial Commissioner Mr Atal Dulloo and Director Health Dr Samir Mattoo have blessed this project from its inception in September this year.
Rajpora previously called “Bow”, has had a very picturesque past and was very well known in the times of Maharaja Hari Singh the last ruler of Princely state of J and K. The Zaildar of this town was very famous “Zail dar-e-Bow”. He was Mr Aziz Mir, known for his aesthetic sense. Zaildar used to be in charge of a Zail which was an administrative unit of group of villages during the British Indian Empire. He had built a mansion more than a hundred years ago. It was situated on a piece of orchard land at a higher altitude. The building had 16 rooms, several bathrooms, a huge kitchen and a big dancing hall. It had a hydro-power system supplying electricity in 1939. This along with a few surrounding buildings used to be illuminated, when only Maharaja Hari Singh had electricity in his palace. Aziz Mir sahib had another grand building for his wife in Maharaja Bazaar. He was also very fond of horses and had made a stable for them at Rambagh that now houses SIDCO headquarters.
Aziz Mir’s father Qudus Mir was a very progressive landlord of his times. His orchards had more than 100 trees of choicest pears, seedless grapes and Quincy apples (Bamchoonth). He laid stress on employment generation and had more than 200 employees working for him. He also invested in contract farming and is said to be the main distributor of saffron. He also had outlets in Rawalpindi, Amritsar and even in Karachi to sell fruits. Aziz Mir was succeeded by Ghulam Hussain Draboo of Narwara Srinagar as the Zaildar by virtue of marrying his daughter. Mr Draboo was a very progressive person, who had very friendly relations with important people of Srinagar. He used to entertain them in his mansion at Rajpora. He invested in educating of his children, who are all doing very well professionally. Zaildar-e-Rajpora, however, lost 1440 canals of land with the “Land to tillers act” which came in 1950, with Sheikh Abdullah assuming power after the princely state acceded to India. The rest is a part of history now.
The Heart healthy project camp will be preceded by a CME on management of “Difficult to treat Hypertension” in Pulwama Govt. Hospital on 26th November. All the doctors of the district will join, and will participate in an informal discussion. Un-controlled hypertension is the commonest cause of strokes, heart attacks and end stage kidney disease, which needs to be taken seriously. It needs a lifelong treatment with safe, cost effective and preferably single tablet containing combination of drugs. Patient compliance for this is essential and to achieve this educating the public is the key. Our endeavour would be to convince the authorities to keep effective but affordable combination pills available in all the health centres. In addition, the associated problems of diabetes and high lipid levels needs full attention. Life style management for this is a very necessary adjunct and will be emphasized. Control of non-communicable diseases is an important challenge being faced by the entire country including, J&K. The involvement of the administration for this is essential. It becomes all the more important because of the shortage of beds for multi-speciality medical problems at the district level and also in the cities of Jammu and Srinagar. Our aim of these Healthy Heart campaigns is an effort in this direction only. “Preventive measures are the most effective and cost containing measures”.