The functioning of the Directorate of Health, Kashmir (DHSK), has been raising many eyebrows as the officials of the department have failed to lead from the front and improve the services being provided to common masses here.
Calling for measures to make state’s Health Care system effective and transparent, recent CAG Audit report of the Health Department and the influx of complaints against the same is compelling, raising serious questions over its functioning.
The queries openly highlight the failure of the government in bringing positive changes in the department, which has confined the working of the department only to official meetings, an insider said.
CAG report-2016 has deliberated upon various serious dimensions of the department, such as Testing of Drugs, supply of sub standard drugs to patient, suspected fraud in various tendering processes or for that matter, expired rate contracts being used for the procurement of drugs. With patient buying at least 47 percent of medicines from the market, it has also questioned the administration for not maintaining the end user record.
After CAG, the Chief Minister’s Grievance Cell has been a witness to the poor functioning of the department. The number of complaints received by the cell also depicts the inefficiency of the Department.
The data provided by the cell says that there have been a total number of 1106 complaints received against the Department pertaining to the non-availability of doctors, equipments and medicines.
The non-availability of medicines at the major hospitals is being seen a big issue these days. With the formation of Medical Corporation, sources are saying that the procurement of medicines has been made tough and at times what happens is that there are drug available with the Corporation, but they are not being allocated to the concerned hospitals, for reasons better known to them.
Wednesday, State’s Health Minister Asiea Naqash in meeting with other concerned officials of the department, according to the official statement, “stressed upon maintaining proper hygiene in the hospitals, the Minister directed the concerned authorities to ensure better sanitation measure in and around the health institutes,” adding that the washrooms should be renovated in all the hospitals and should be cleaned on regular basis, however she seems to have missed the much larger and worrying scenario of the department, by focusing much on the sanitation, rather than other issues.
An official, on the condition of anonymity said that even after depositing funds in the Medical Corporation, the drugs/medicines have not been issued to them, thus, compelling the patients to buy drugs from the market, which was, as per CAG report, 45 per cent, and is expected to be high currently.
During the meeting of Health Minister with other officials, according to the official statement, “procurement and availability of drugs, basic facilities in hospitals, fire fighting mechanism and availability of funds under different schemes were also discussed in detail during the meeting,” however, there seems to be no relief on ground, as hospitals are still struggling to procure the basic medicines.
Fire fighting mechanism, as per the statement was also discussed. GB Panth Hospital—valley’s lone Childcare Hospital—has been craving for setting up fire fighting mechanism in the hospital.
Interestingly, the hospital, since its inception has been functioning without any mechanism to deal with fire like situation.
The Government, over the years has not been able to relocate the shops that the Cantonment Board has built just outside the entrance of the hospital, which as per the administration, was meant to be a spot where the fire tenders would be stationed. Sources are saying that the Govt has not been able to fix a deal with the Cantonment Board, thus jeopardizing the lives of patients and attendants.