Kashmir’s Ailing Health Care System

Kashmir’s Ailing Health Care System
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The incidence of Hepatitis C- an infectious disease caused by the Hepatitis C virus(HCV) and which essentially affects the liver- has alarmingly increased in Kokernag area of Kashmir.  HCV usually spreads through blood to blood contact and intravenous drug use, badly sterilized and infected equipment, bllod transfusions; the virus can also be sexually transmitted. If this disease remains undiagnosed and even untreated, it can potentially turn out to be fatal. In terms of ratios and proportions, only a small number of patients suffering from Hep C have been treated in Kokernag. The majority remain either undiagnosed or even worse, untreated. The reasons, it would appear, pertain to the obvious in Kashmir: the reach, depth and scale of health care are limited in Kashmir. The majority of patients, suffering from whatever disease and/or illness(es) prefer or have no choice but to be referred to urban health centres. This, in turn , creates stresses and strains on these urban centres and the casualty is efficient and effective health care provision and delivery. If a core periphery model of health care- preventative and other wise- is envisaged in Kashmir then the core is overburdened because there is very little and sparse provision and delivery of health services in the periphery. This , in all likelihood, explains why most of the cases Hep C in Kokernag have remained untreated with the onus of treatment and its nature falling on the patient itself. The problem- especially in its macro dimensions- can be traced back to poor health care infrastructure, bad, poor , ineffective and inefficient management and a generally poor work ethic. It is not merely about funding but a combination of these factors that determine poor delivery of health care in Kashmir. In this sense then, the problem is eminently remediable. This would require a review. Kashmir’s healthcare system needs to be reviewed and revamped. One good step would be to alter the management paradigm and induce more transparency and accountability in the overall health care system. This could be followed by streamlining and making processes and procedures more efficient and effective. The steps enumerated here are not exhaustive; these are merely indicative. A lot more can and needs to be done to make our ailing healthcare system efficient and effective. What is required is a political push and administrative will. In the meantime, all efforts should be made and directed to making treatment of Hep C available to all in Kokernag before the problem acquires epidemic proportions.

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