Budgam: In complete mayhem, long queues of patients wait at the outpatient department (OPD) in Aga Syed Yousuf Memorial (ASYM) District Hospital in Budgam. Scores of patients lie on beds fixed in a narrow corridor, and scores more, accompanied by a family member, have nowhere to go.
Outside each doctor’s chamber, patients and attendants are crunched into a small space. It is suffocating. The patients in the queues hardly find a place to sit.
“My son is suffering from a serious ailment. He can’t walk on his own. Here, there is no space in the corridors to move as patients’ beds have been placed here. The pushing and shoving from people makes us uneasy. But they can’t be blamed either: there is no space at all. It is like a flock of sheep crammed into a shed,” Sharifa, a attendant accompanying her son, lamented.
Self-evident trouble with infrastructure apart, Chief Medical Officer Budgam G M Dar told Kashmir Reader that 26 kanals of the hospital land were under Army occupation.
“We have had a survey with a defence person, which was also attended by revenue officials. But there has been no progress till date in favour of the Army’s vacating the land,” Dar added.
With little room to expand facilities, patients are left vulnerable and helpless. The ASYM is the only big health institute in Budgam district. “I am a labourer and can’t effort private clinics. So I have no option but to visit the government-run hospitals,” said a patient, adding, “We are being treated as third-class people, no one cares for us.”
“This has been happening here for many years. And it will continue as the administration is not lenient towards patients,” another said.
Patients who seek the advice of doctors at private clinics receive better treatment in a better environment, people allege. “Those who come straight to the hospital have to face problems,” a patient allged.
The hospital is also fund-strapped as doctors here do not even have access to a CT scan machine. The hospital’s endoscopy equipment has also been gathering dust for years.
“I don’t consider this place a district hospital. This is a big primary health centre,” said a resident of Budgam town.
Medical Superintendent Dr. Deeba admitted that patients were facing problems due to the institution’s lack of infrastructure. She added that though catering to the population of the entire district, the hospital has a capacity of only 80 beds, nowhere near enough to manage the huge in-flow of patients.