Handwara: Over three decades after its establishment, the District Hospital in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district is craving for development.
According to the residents of the town, the hospital, located in Handwara, was established about 34 years ago, when Kupwara was officially declared as the second biggest district in north Kashmir.
The aim, they said, was to offer better healthcare facilities to the people of Handwara and its adjoining areas. But the people still have to travel to Srinagar for treatment, they said.
“The main building and doctors’ residential quarters damaged in 2005 earthquake are yet to be repaired. After protests in 2007, the then-government constructed a new building, but it is without the necessary facilities. It doesn’t even have a generator for lighting,” the locals said.
The hospital also doesn’t have a proper garbage-disposal system, with the staff as well as the attendants bound to openly dump the biomedical waste in the hospital’s backyard.
Irshad Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Handwara, said: “It is a District Hospital, but it, because of its poor infrastructure, appears no better than any Primary Health Centre.”
Bhat said the patients have to get their medical tests done in private, as the hospital doesn’t have a generator to run its machines.
The patients, he added, still have to use candlelight inside the wards during winters.
The hospital doesn’t have enough staff to operate round the clock.
“Former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had announced that he will provide more staff and latest equipment to the hospital, but till date it all has been an unfulfilled promise,” Bhat said.
Speaking with Kashmir Reader, the medical superintendent (MS) of the hospital, Dr Abdul Rouf, accepted that the hospital doesn’t have the requisite infrastructure.
“We are facing a lot of problems at present. Our new building only has a few rooms and we have to do most of our work in the old building. We have an under-capacity generator, but we need a bigger generator,” he said.
The MS added that the hospital’s operation theater, gynaecologic ward, and X-ray section are located in the ground floor of the old building, which “is without a concrete ceiling”.
“All the dust in there is a threat to equipments as well as to the patients. We are cleaning our operation theater every day, and it is a matter of serious concern,” he said.
“The water from the nearby drains and streams usually floods the hospital’s ground floor, but we don’t have an alternative. I personally asked the MLA concerned for repairing of the old building. I still hope that the government will release funds for the development of the hospital,” the MS said.