Healthcare remains drastically affected in flood-hit Kashmir Valley

SRINAGAR: The healthcare services in Kashmir Valley continued to be disrupted on Monday with major hospitals either submerged or inaccessible due to the inundated roads.
In the state’s summer capital Srinagar, most secondary and tertiary healthcare hospitals remained closed for patients due to the devastation caused by the flood the last week.
The hospitals include the SMHS hospital, a premier healthcare centre providing tertiary healthcare in many disciplines, the orthopedic Bone and Joints hospital in uptown Barzulla, the Lal Ded hospital, which is the only major maternity hospital in the entire Kashmir Valley, and SK Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Medical College located at Bye-Pass here.
Besides the hospitals associated with the Government Medical College and SKIMS, many hospitals, like the Gousia hospital in flood-hit Khanyar, of the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK) are also unable to help the patients.
With most hospitals rendered nonoperational by the devastating flood, the patients are forced to go to the hospitals that were not affected directly by the flood, putting stress on their limited facilities.
All kinds of patients from accessible areas in central Kashmir districts, for instance, head to SKIMS, which is primarily a tertiary healthcare centre. The extra rush of patients has forced the authorities to convert the local government school into a makeshift healthcare facility in which the patients in need of primary healthcare are treated.
For most patients, however, the operational hospitals including SKIMS continue to be inaccessible due to road blocks caused by the flood.
The JLNM hospital near Rainawari here, for instance, is easily accessible only to patients from Khanyar to Saida Kadal areas here. Anyone from uptown cannot reach the hospital as all major roads are under water. And for the patients from other unaffected areas of the old city, the only approach route to the hospital is via Malakhah—a distance difficult to cover with limited number of buses plying on the roads.
The SKIMS is also inaccessible to patients from south and north Kashmir due to inundates roads.
The inaccessibility is not only blocking the patients’ way to the hospital, but the medicos too are not able to reach their workplaces. To have enough manpower to run the overburdened hospital, Director SKIMS on Sunday had an SMS circulated that “all doctors and paramedics, especially gynecologists, ENT, Orthopedics of SKIMS Medical College Bemina are requested to report urgently to SKIMS Soura”.
To provide some relief to the people, many doctors are voluntarily seeing the patients at relief camps set up in every locality of the old city’s limited area that the flood didn’t affect directly. The patients are being provided free consultation and donated medicines at the facilities.
Meanwhile, shortage of medicines appears to have started to hit Kashmir Valley due to closure of the Jammu-Srinagar highway, the main supply line to the Valley, for the thirteenth consecutive day. The highway had to be closed when the flood water from Jhelum submerged the Pantha Chowk.
“To get medicines for my father, I walked from Rainawari to Soura. But I could not find the medicine. The chemists told me that the medicine I was looking for is out of stock,” Nisar Ahmad, a government employee from Rainawari in old city, told Kashmir Reader.