By Ishfaq Reshi
Budgam: Despite being the first port of call for the sick, primary health centres (PHC) in different villages and towns of Budgam district are in a terrible condition. Most of them lack staff, equipment, beds, labs and in some cases, doctors too.
In Narbal, most residents Kashmir Reader talked to were even unaware that the health centers were supposed to function round the clock.
The area has just one urban health centre, and a sub-district hospital.
“When my husband got hurt, we had to spend Rs 2,500 at a private clinic because the PHC did not have a doctor, pharmacist or the equipment, in night hours,” said Shahista, a resident of Jawharpora.
Despite being a 24×7 PHC, the centre hasn’t had a doctor available during nights, local resident said.
A staffer at the centre said the PHC was functioning “round the clock” on papers only. At 5.55pm, when this reporter visited the PHC only three lower rung employees were present. There was no doctor, pharmacist or paramedical staff. A roster for duties wasn’t available either.
The employees present said that no one from the locality visited the centre during night hours.
“If someone fell ill during night hours they doesn’t visit us but go either to private clinics or SDH Magam,” a staffer said. The SDH Magam is at a distance of 10 km from the spot. They conceded that all they could provide, if someone visited during night hours, was first aid.
The scene is no different at Gondipora, about 15 km from Budgam town. Like, in Narbal, the PHC Gondibal is acting “round the clock” on papers only while no doctor or paramedical staff is available during night hours. Even at 4pm only two paramedical staff members were present in the centre. The roster was not displayed anywhere.
At another PHC in Aripanthan the doctors were missing even at 1pm.
CMO Budgam G M Dar could not be reached despite repeated efforts, while Deputy Commissioner Budgam Mir Altaf said that he would take cognizance of the matter.