Kashmir hospitals lack facilities to tackle disasters: DAK


Srinagar:  A day after a powerful earthquake shook the valley, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today said that Kashmir hospitals are not prepared to tackle disasters like earthquake.

Voicing concern over inability of health care system to handle calamities, President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement issued to GNS said that Kashmir hospitals lack facilities and trained staff to deal with mass causalities during earthquake.

“Hospitals play an important role in reducing morbidity and mortality during earthquake and loss of life and disability is compounded by lack of medical preparedness. First and foremost, there is a direct health care impact on the population-be it from mass trauma, infectious agent or floods- but we are just not prepared to handle them”, he said.

In past two major events in Kashmir-2005 earthquake and 2014 floods have made us question the ability of our hospitals to respond to mass causalities and unfortunately post calls to review hospital preparedness have gone unheard, he said.

“The first place a person thinks if he or his family member is injured in a disaster is hospital, but it may not be the best place to go. Hospitals should have an emergency plan to follow should a disaster occur which is completely missing”, he said.

Majority of hospital staff are not aware of the procedure to follow should an emergency occur, he said.

“While hospitals in USA are required to have disaster response plans to be accredited by the Joint Commission, but in India there is no statutory body to regulate and accredit this requirement. We have to prepare in advance-we cannot wait for another disaster to hit”.

Kashmir falls in seismic zone v and as earthquakes cannot be predicted so we cannot be complacent about it. Hospitals in Kashmir as per experts cannot withstand high magnitude earthquake due to complete non-compliance of structural elements of lifeline structures to building codes and safety norms, he said.

People of Kashmir will be without crucial life saving assets during disasters, when they are needed most, if the existing structures are not retrofitted to withstand tremors. As of now, disaster preparedness in health care of Kashmir is an orphan entity, he said. (GNS)

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