For 300 expecting mothers, no gynaecologist in Gurez

No doctor posted at 5 newly-created NTPHCs
According to officials, “The majority of women use the help of ASHA workers at the time of delivery.”
According to officials, “The majority of women use the help of ASHA workers at the time of delivery.”Special arrangement

Bandipora: For around 300 pregnant women of Gurez, not even a single gynaecologist is posted in the picturesque valley.

Gurez continues to lack basic healthcare facilities, and people say that the authorities appear unconcerned and are not coming up with a long-term solution.

Even though the main community health facility in the heart of Dawar has been shifted to its new building since Wednesday, patients in need of expert care are still required to travel long distances to Bandipora or Srinagar due to the shortage of specialist doctors.

Pregnant women from the area make up the majority of those without access to healthcare.

According to current estimates, roughly 300 pregnant women are registered with the Health Department as of now.

Despite the formation of a permanent position of a gynaecologist some years ago, the estimated population of 30,000 does not have the services of a gynae to assist them.

The region's rural belts like Tulail, Bagtore, and Kanzalwan even do not have doctors to provide basic healthcare needs.

According to officials, “The majority of women use the help of ASHA workers at the time of delivery.”

However, women with problematic pregnancies are unofficially advised to seek professional care in Bandipora or elsewhere, which means covering long travel distances and spending a long time to get to medical facilities with gynaecologists. Some people have to deal with near-death situations throughout the winter when the roads close for months and helicopters are unable to make an emergency medical evacuation.

"The issue has remained unsolved, and every time, especially in the winter, we have to face situations wherein desperate families seek the administration's help to airlift the expecting or critically ill patients. Being witnesses to this, we wish no one has to face such situations wherein hope also seems to have died," Abdul Raheem, a local, said.

Another local, Irshad Ahamd, said, "The post has remained vacant for over 10 years."

The hospital in Dawar has been without specialised doctors since March despite the fact that the Director of Health Services Kashmir had previously sent specialised doctors to Gurez Valley on a rolling basis to address the region's failing healthcare system.

"The roster hasn't been renewed, and the doctors are back at their original stations," Block Medical Officer (BMO) Gurez, Tahira Nazir told Greater Kashmir.

She acknowledged the difficulties pregnant women in the area face.

If the position of the gynaecologist is not filled, the issue will continue,” she said. “Medical Officers have to shift those who need to undergo emergency surgeries."

She confirmed that ASHA workers handle the majority of the cases.

The Community Health Centre (CHC) Dawar also lacks a pediatrician despite an available position.

It adds to the woes of the mothers seeking post-neonatal care for their babies. Besides this, a physician's post is also vacant in the hospital.

Although technicians run the laboratory and X-ray machines, the USG machine has been sitting idle, as the hospital does not have the services of a radiologist or a USG expert.

The five-newly created NTPHCs in Gurez Valley including the ones at Choorwan, Gujjran, and Kanzalwan, are functioning without a doctor and are instead run by Female Multi-purpose Health Workers (FMPHWs) or pharmacists.

Moreover, the old health centres in Barnaoi and Bagtore also have vacant medical officer posts.

CMO Bandipora, Dr Rafi Ahmad Salathi told Greater Kashmir that higher authorities on a temporary basis arranged the gynecologist and other vacancies for the winter months due to the place being cut off.

“The government is actively pursuing the permanent posting of the doctor at the hospital,” he said.

Salathi said that the vacancies of doctors would be filled in the near future and that the government was looking to create more posts to depute them at places without doctors.

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