Vital machine defunct at GDC, patients spent huge sums at private clinics

By Sumiya Shah

SRINAGAR: The lone government-run Dental College and Hospital (GDC) is inordinately delaying reinstallation of OPG (Orthopantomogram) machine, compelling the patients to approach the private clinics for OPG X-Rays against hefty charges.
The OPG machine is required to probe the dental problems including issues related to jawbones and positioning of teeth was badly hit by the devastating flood of September 2014.
People with dental issues who approach the hospital said that the authorities have failed to procure the machines vital for the treatment. “The patients are suffering. They have to go to the market for OPG X-ray that could have been done at the GDC Srinagar,” a patient told Kashmir Reader.
“Around 50 to 60 x-rays are needed in all the disciplines of the college on an average daily. Since the OPG machine is lying defunct the patients have to go to private x-ray clinics. It costs Rs 800 for a dental x-ray in private sector while as the same would have been quite cheaper if the facility was available at the hospital,” a GDC official said.
Iqra Mushtaq, a resident of Sopore who was suffering from serious toothache went to GDC for treatment, but she was told by a dentist to get an x-ray image from outside and return after a week’s time.
“I went to a private lab for the OPG x- ray. They charged me Rs 900 that I could ill-afford,” Iqra said.
Dr Syed Qaiser Jah, Medical Superintendent, Dental College and hospital admitted that the defunct x-ray machine is causing inconvenience to the patients. “I understand that patients are suffering a lot due to the defunct OPG machine. We are trying our best to re-install the machine,” Jah told Kashmir Reader.
“We sent this machine for repairs but the estimate of the repairs cost more than its price. Now we have send requisition to Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL) for new OPG machine as Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in her recent statement also said that from 2017 the hospitals have to buy all the medicines and equipments through JKMSCL”, he said.
Dr Jah said the x-ray machine could not be purchased against the funds released by State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF). “We have properly utilized all the funds under SDRF for purchasing the basic equipments damaged in 2014 flood. The OPG machine is costlier and could have exhausted all our funds,” he said.
An OPG is a panoramic or wide view X-Ray of the lower face, which displays all the teeth of the upper and lower jaw on a single film.  It demonstrates the number, position and growth of all the teeth including the ones still unexposed.