The demand for up-gradation of the rural healthcare sector is growing louder with each passing day.
The stakeholders are coming up with the installation of the modern facilities at the health care institutes in rural areas which otherwise are ignored for unknown reasons.
Amid the delay in improving the infrastructure and providing adequate staff at health institutes in rural areas, the residents have started building pressure on the government to equip these health care institutes instead of only focusing on hospitals in towns and cities.
Recently, various delegations from different areas of south Kashmir called on Director Health Services Kashmir Dr. Mushtaq Ahmed Rather who put forth their demand for strengthening health care facilities in far off areas.
The delegations, comprising senior citizens, had come from various areas of district Anantnag and Kulgam.
The stakeholders demanded up-gradation of healthcare facilities in their areas and appealed the director health for speedy redressal of their genuine demands.
The Director Health services has assured the delegations that their genuine demands will be fulfilled in a time bound Manner.
Serious efforts need to be taken by the department where the patient care gets hit due to non availability of facilities, resulting in unnecessary referrals to hospitals in the city.
Secondly, the department should ensure that each healthcare institute gets adequate staff to cater to the patient rush in these far off areas of south Kashmir and other frontier districts as well.
No doubt the J&K government has set itself on the mission to strengthen healthcare facilities in far-off areas to ease the burden on City hospitals, but the projects enlisted under the mission are for long term measures while the need of the hour is to also focus on short term measures keeping in view providing day to day health care facilities at these institutes.
Over the past many years, the hospitals and government medical colleges have received referral cases owing to the non-availability of the health centres or healthcare facilities in the rural areas.
The unnecessary referrals have always overburdened the doctors and paramedics at premiere hospitals in the City as the patients do not get treatment for their ailments in district hospitals.
Nowadays, the government has to upgrade the primary health centres to such a level that the facility tackles safe delivery of pregnant women besides providing treatment to other ailments as well.
The government has to establish different departments in district and sub-district hospitals in order to provide better health care facilities to all sorts of ailments.
As per the official figures, the J&K government has established more than 2200 Health and Wellness Centres (H&WC) besides releasing funding worth Rs 2800 crore in order to strengthen the rural health care centres and augment the infrastructure as well.
The official figures reveal that around 2224 Health and Wellness Centres have been established in Jammu and Kashmir during the last four years.
Notably, the government has established 392 health and wellness centres in both the aspirational districts of J&K. These include 209 centres in Kupwara district while 183 such centres have been established in Baramulla district as well.
Despite these facilities, there is no end to the complaints of poor health care facilities in rural areas due to lack of equipment and dearth of staff.
The government earlier said that over the past three years it has installed high end equipment in the primary health centres and the capacity of sub district and district hospitals was done on a large scale as well.
At primary level, the main focus remains that these primary health centres can prove as preventive, primitive and curative centres.
The need for accessible, effective geriatrics and palliative care had grown over the past several decades but remained unaddressed in J&K.
The health authorities need to keep their focus sustained on rural healthcare so that the rush to health facilities in cities and towns is lessened with each passing day. By strengthening rural healthcare, the authorities can focus on enhancing tertiary-care facilities in cities and towns for the benefit of patients.
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.