Baramulla: In north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, a woman who developed systemic sclerosis (a disease akin to leprosy) has been left to fend for herself by government hospitals.
It has been three years since Jana Begam, 48, wife of Abdul Rahim Malik of Limber village, Uri, contracted the disease. Initially her family took her to various local doctors, but they couldn’t cure her ailment. Her husband then shifted her to Baramulla district hospital, where the treatment given to her made no improvement in her condition. The family then moved their patient to SMHS Hospital, Srinagar, where, however, they were unable to continue her treatment.
“I shifted my wife to SMHS, Srinagar, for advanced treatment, which the doctors started, but her medicines are very costly and I am too poor to afford them. I sold a few kanals of land for her treatment, but we can’t provide her the complete course because there is nothing like free medicine in any government-run hospital. After some time, the doctors advised me to admit my patient in district hospital Baramulla, and I did so. The doctors there conducted an operation and amputated three fingers of her left hand. They assured that she would now be fit. But, unfortunately, she has not improved. Now the fingers of both her hands and the toes of both her feet have contracted the disease. She is burning in pain. We cannot provide her advanced treatment. I contacted different hospitals for free treatment, but they told us to buy all the costly medicines from the market,” Malik said.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Baramulla, Dr Bashir Ahmad told Reader that if the patient had contracted leprosy or any such disease and belonged to a poor family, the government would provide him or her free treatment and medicine.
“It is our responsibility to provide free medicine and other treatment to every patient if he/ she is poor and can’t afford the treatment and medicines required,” the CMO said. He assured this reporter of helping the patient if her case is brought before him.
The patient visited the CMO’s office on Monday. The CMO assured her that the department would provide her free treatment from now on.