Anantnag: The Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Hapatnar tribal village in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district has been without a building and other infrastructure for the last six years.
The PHC has been functioning in a makeshift building, which the Hapatnar residents compared to their cowsheds.
The locals said the construction of the PHC’s building has been trapped in “power games”, with every politician wanting credit for laying its foundation stone.
“Our village is cursed. When National conference was in power, we had an MLA from the Peoples Democratic Party. Now, we have a National Conference MLA. Look at the condition of our PHC. Our cowsheds are much bigger and cleaner than this,” Dilawar Khan, the village head, said.
The block medical officer concerned, Dr Abdul Rashid, said the staff too has been suffering in the makeshift building.
“We have no toilets here. This building may collapse if six patients visit us together. It’s very weak,” he said.
The situation has resulted in denial of proper healthcare facilities to nearly 1,000 inhabitants of the village.
The PHC doesn’t have a gynecologist, a dentist, or the required number of nurses. It is being run by a BUMS doctor with the help of two other men playing multiple roles.
It is also lacking an X-Ray machine and an electrocardiogram, while a single defunct microscope is available to carry out the basic tests.
There are no emergency drugs available for patients, and the available ayurvedic medicines have expired.
The chief medical officer (CMO), Dr Fazil Ali, blamed the non-availability of funds for delay in the construction.
“The NABARD is constructing the building, but it has not received any funds in the current financial year. Non-availability of funds has dented the construction process. I have been continuously writing to NABARD over the issue,” he said.
The CMO, however, expressed hope that the construction would be completed this year.
“Until the building is ready, we have arranged enough manpower at the PHC to handle emergencies. We have a doctor, a nurse, and a technician there,” he said. He refuted that the PHC was having expired medicines, saying, “I regularly visit my health centres and I have not come across any such thing. Yet, I will immediately do an inspection of the PHC and take action if I find expired medicine there.”
“This is a newly-sanctioned health centre and the overall process might take some time. We also don’t have a proper infrastructure to house all the required doctors and paramedics. Once our new building is ready, we will have the sanctioned staff available for the patients.”