‘Defunct health-centers in rural areas hit patient care’



Srinagar: Despite state and central governments repeated claims to strengthen the health sector in Jammu and Kashmir, majority of the primary health centres in rural areas, are in a terrible condition.

According to official sources, most of the primary health centers in rural areas lack staff, equipment, beds, labs and even doctors too. “The urban-rural divide seems stark with most PHCs in urban areas being in better shape than those in rural areas,” one of the officials in the health department told KNS.

He said that due to inadequate basic health facilities, scores of precious lives are lost every year in rural areas. “The victims are mostly the pregnant women who remain miserably unattended during the crucial pre and post delivery time in the hilly and far-flung areas where the job of the midwife is generally performed unscientifically by the inexperienced hands,” the official maintained.

Sources said that the government’s efforts to provide at least basic facilities to the rural people have failed to yield results in absence of proper infrastructure and adequate medical and para-medical staff.

Presently, most of the Primary Health Centres in the state are either having no pre-natal facilities or don’t have gynecologists at all.

Authorities said that the hospitals in the cities and major towns were facing greater pressure of the patients from rural areas even for simple surgeries.

One of the officials in the health department told KNS that the government should conduct a survey of all hospitals and dispensaries under it across the state on diagnostics, equipment, medicines, ambulance, number of doctors, blood storage and post mortem facilities, buildings, water and drainage systems, and food service to the patients, among others.

Sources said that as the rural hospital lack the infrastructure and qualified man power, the major hospitals in the twin cities Jammu and Srinagar are functioning like a primary health care hospital. “The Government instead of decentralizing the healthcare has centralized it in twin cities Jammu and Srinagar, where tertiary care hospitals are flooded with patients from rural areas,” one of the doctors said.

The data collected by the KNS said that the LD hospital Srinagar, receives 700 patients in its Out Patients Department (OPD) and 120-130 patients are admitted daily. “80 percent of these patients are from rural areas of Kashmir valley and majority of them come directly to the hospital while 20 percent are referred”.

Doctors said that the healthcare infrastructure and manpower has been concentrated in twin cities while 80 percent of the population lives in rural areas. “The OPD’s of Government medical college hospitals receive 99 percent patients from rural areas and it speaks volumes about rural infrastructure”, one of the doctors said adding that peripheral healthcare is totally defunct and Government concentrates more on developing infrastructure in cities.

Sources said that in many hospitals there are gynecologists but no pediatricians, no life support for mother and child, no blood banks and no qualified medical and para-medical staff.

Doctors say that tertiary care hospitals are performing the role of primary health care and even they take care of minor surgeries when they are meant for advanced care and research.

Sources said that even the City hospitals like, Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial (JLNM) Hospital at Rainawari Srinagar which has better facilities is shifting its gynecological patients to the LD hospital to avoid surgeries during night.

Sources said that most of the doctors posted in rural areas are not attending their duties for days together. “We have seen that the doctors posted in these PHC’s remain absent for days together. Even some doctors are being seen practicing in the urban areas during the day time,” sources in the health department said. (KNS)










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