By Shafat Mir
Bijbehara: Lacking essential diagnostic facilities and specialist doctors, the Sub-District Hospital (SDH) Bijbehara in Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s home town belies the official claims of improving health sector in rural areas.
Although, established directly as a sub-district hospital in 1987, SDH Bijbehara remains devoid of basic facilities and faces a dearth of specialist doctors.
The hospital, which caters to the population of Bijbehara tehsil and adjacent villages of Shopian and Kulgam districts, lacks even an endoscopy machine forcing the doctors to refer the patients to private clinics.
According to a paramedic working in the hospital, a low-resolution USG machine installed in the hospital more than a decade ago developed snags over the years.
“This machine does not give accurate results causing problems to the patients due to improper diagnosis,” he said.
Most of the traffic accident cases, sources said, are referred to other hospitals because of a dysfunctional blood storage unit and absence of MRI and CT Scan facilities.
“Because of its strategic location on the national highway, the hospital receives a lot of traffic accident cases on daily basis but all of them are referred either to district hospital Anantnag or Srinagar hospitals after being provided the first aid. And the non-availability of MRI or CT Scan facilities are the only reason for their referral,” said a doctor who asked not to be named.
The hospital also faces shortage of medical and paramedical staff.
According to the doctors the hospital receives around 13000 patients every month has no ophthalmologist, ENT specialist or a radiologist. In the absence of a radiologist, ultrasonographies are done either by paramedics or by a doctor lacking adequate specialization. There is only one consultant each for departments like General Surgery and Gynaecology.
“Due to the shortage of surgeon specialists surgeries are done on few days only,” the hospital staff disclosed adding that there were only a couple of theater assistants against the required four.
The sanitation in the hospital also is not at par with stinking washrooms causing inconvenience to both the patients and staff.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, Chief Medical Officer Anantnag, Dr Fazil Ali Kochak played down the lack of facilities at SDH Bijbehara.
“Facilities like MRI and endoscopy should be available in the district hospital first then only we can talk about these services to be provided at sub-divisional levels,” Dr Kochak said.
According to Dr Kochak even the district hospital Anantnag lacks MRI and Endoscopy facilities. Moreover, there are only two qualified radiologists working in the entire district of Anantnag.