Conflict-hit Kashmir has no critical care ambulance

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir, which bagged ‘best award’ in the health care sector last year, has no critical care ambulance for a population of nearly 13 million.
Kashmir Valley’s superspeciality centre SKIMS has 16 ambulances—12 big ambulances and 4 vans. The SMHS Hospital has 10 ambulances out of which 6 are vans, 2 Sumo’s and 2 vans. The lone maternity hospital, Lala Ded has only 6 ambulances, 3 big and 3 small vans.
These ambulances lack Basic Life Support System (BLSF), and most of the time patients die before reaching hospital due of absence of necessary equipment in the ambulances.
According to official sources, the state has two critical care ambulances but they are reserved for VIPs including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Governor NN Vohra.
The lack of life support ambulances in the state is proving costly for the people particularly those who get injured in accidents and succumb to the injuries on way to the hospital.
According to the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), 50 basic Life support ambulances have been procured by the Directorate of Health Services Jammu and Kashmir which are to be kept on Jammu-Srinagar highway at a distance of every 30 kms. However, the project continues to remain in limbo.
Experts say it is essential to have an immediate first aid and emergency treatment available in the ambulances.
“The ambulances we have here are no more than carriers. The need of the hour is to provide a number of life support ambulances exclusively for the use of common public. It will definitely bring a change and many lives can be saved, which are otherwise lost on the way to hospital,” Dr Farooq Ahmed told Kashmir Reader.
Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman admitted that there are no proper ambulances in the Valley. “As of now there are only two critical care ambulances in Kashmir that are used for VVIP cavalcade. But if necessity arises, we do provide them to the common public as well. As far as the provision of critical care ambulance on the highway by NRHM is concerned, I do not have any update regarding it,” Dr Rehman added.