Sopore residents demand maternity hospital

Residents of Sopore demand the old hospital building in the main town should be transformed into a full-fledged maternity hospital after the main hospital was moved into a new building with state of the art facilities.

The residents have protested on several occasions in the recent past asking for deputing doctors and establishing other facilities in the old hospital building – which locals call ‘Mother and Childcare Hospital’ – where doctors are sent for gynaecology OPD on regular basis.

However, hospital authorities say they were helpless as the MCH does not exist in official records.

The authorities of Sub District Hospital Sopore, building of which was recently constructed at a new place in the town say only a facility of OPD for pregnant women has been kept available at the old SDH building.

“For the convenience of locals, we have kept OPD facility in gynaecology section available at old hospital building, which otherwise has been shifted to new place where a start of the art hospital has been constructed. There is no other section of hospital operational at the old hospital building,” said Dr Sami, Block Medical Officer, SDH Sopore.

Top officials in the health department say that soon after the SDH Sopore was shifted into the new building several years back, some locals on their own erected a sign board at the old hospital building declaring it ‘Mother and Child Care Hospital’.

Thereafter, on the insistence of members of Sopore civil society only OPD in the gynaecology section was started.

“As such there is no Mother and Childcare Hospital in the records. Neither there is any administrative approval for such a hospital. No administrative approval means no recruitment of doctors, staff or availability of funds,” said Dr Sami.

“The OPD is being run on rotational basis while gynaecologists are being sent from sub district hospital Sopore.”

Officials in the health department say several state of the art hospitals have been constructed in recent years, as old hospital buildings were unable to cope with the growing rush of patients.

The new hospitals include Baramulla district hospital, sub-district hospital Sopore and sub-district hospital Pattan in Baramulla district.

An official said when old hospitals were being shifted to new hospital buildings, the health department faced severe resistance from a section of the society who had business interests associated with the old hospitals.

“The local population should understand that the new hospitals are equipped with state of the art facilities.”

However, locals in the area are of the view that the old hospital building which is at the centre of Sopore town needs to be converted in to a full-fledged maternity hospital.

They argue the old hospital land should not be wasted and the proposed nursing college should be constructed there.

“The old hospital building is intact and is located in the heart of the town. It needs to be restored for the maternity hospital and a nursing college should be constructed there as promised by the previous government,” said Muhammad Ismail Khuroo, secretary Sopore Economic Alliance.