A decade after Shopian became a district, SDH yet to be upgraded
SHOPIAN: A decade after Shopian was given a district status, its sub-district hospital is yet to be upgraded to a district hospital. But what pains the residents more is that hospital doesn‘t even have facilities of a sub-district level while its unsecured compound has turned into a den for drug addicts, a parking zone for vehicles, and a waste dumping site.
Visitors to the hospital complain about absence of doctors and unavailability of medical facilities.
Many patients, referred to Srinagar, for lack of these facilities, have died on the way, they said.
“We were forced to go to Srinagar based hospitals even for minor issues,” laments Farooq Ahmad Kumar, a local resident.
At 3:20 pm on Monday when this reporter reached the hospital the OPD ticket counter was closed. No doctor, nurse or even a peon was available.
An attendant accompanying a patient alleged that authorities have posted inexperienced staff at the hospital “which increases the sufferings of people”. “Recently I saw a nurse making seven unsuccessful attempts to insert a drip to a patient suffering from severe stomach ache,” he said.
Abdul Majid Malik, a neighbouring resident said that he recently saw a man forced to use nebulizer on his son himself as there was no nurse or doctor available at the hospital.
“The staff is always busy in gossip,” Malik said.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Shopian Abdul Rasheed told Kashmir Reader said that he would look into the matter. “Recently I fined several nurses who were found dull in their duties” he said.
Hospital insiders told Kashmir Reader that 10 cases of myocardial infarction were brought to the hospital last month and all of them were referred to Srinagar hospitals out of which three died on their way to Srinagar. They said that some of the local doctors haven’t been transferred for a decade.
Apart from the lack of required facilities, an unsecured compound has became a menace for hospital visitors.
Bilal Ahmad, a neighboring resident said that the hospital compound has turned into a hub of drug addicts, which not only irks the patients and attendants but is also a threat to the neighboring residents. “There is a fear psychosis among the residents of the nearby locality because of these drug addicts,” Bilal said. He added that the hospital premises looks like a courtyard of stray dogs and illegally parked vehicles. Member of Legislative Assembly from Shopian, Muhammad Yousuf Bhat rued that he “failed to get Shopian a district hospital”.
“I had made commitments with the people but the government failed me,” Yousuf said.
Despite being a part of government Yousuf admitted that SDH Shopian “is the worst hospital in the valley in terms of providing health care facilities even sub-district hospital facilities has been abandoned in this hospital”.
Many local residents opine that Shopian is being “politically ignored” in development especially in health sector.
Even medical experts concede that Shopian hospital is “considered as the worst hospital” in valley in terms basic health care facilities including sanitation, and bedding for patients.
“Unfortunately we don’t have district hospital facilities. We have 19 doctors against a demand of 40. These include seven specialized doctors, seven assistant surgeons and five doctors from National Rural Health Mission (NRHM),” CMO Shopian, Dr Abdul Rasheed said.
He added that they have two ambulances against a requirement of five. “It takes more than one and half hours to reach Srinagar and we have immediate need of critical care ambulances to shift critical patients to Srinagar hospitals. Although the issue was discussed in district board meeting but till date no such ambulance was provided to the hospital,” he said.
Dr Rasheed also admitted that the hospital premises had turned into a hub of drug addicts, illegal vehicle parking zone, playground and wastage dumping site. He said that he has already raised the drug addict issue with the law and order agencies. “Unfortunately the hospital premises are not fenced properly which paves a way to outsiders for parking and dumping wastage,” he said while demanding a concrete wall for the hospital.
On hospital machinery he said that they have only routine testing equipments for conducting the different medical tests and they have immediate need of digital x-ray machine.
Medical Superintendent Shopian, Doctor Shafayat Rashid said that the hospital lacks equipments like CBC analyzers, biochemistry analyzers and digital x-rays. He added that they have single room theatre in the hospital without roof, where insects and birds enter freely.
Asked about the complaints of patients for non availability of washrooms, CMO Dr Rasheed said that they have made all the washrooms operational in new building, However, the Medical Superintendent said only one washroom was operational in new building and that too was made functional by the hospital staff voluntarily.
Doctor Shafayat added: “We don’t have specialized equipments for surgeries. We don’t have facilities/ doctors to handle the super specialty cases like heart attacks including myocardial infarction, head injuries, abdominal injuries.”
He admitted that Shopian hospital was almost dysfunctional, and most of the staff works on contract basis. “Even I am basically posted in Pulwama and was asked to make temporary shifts to this hospital. We don’t have a general physician, ENT specialist, Ophthalmologist.”
Minister of Health for State (MoS), Aasiya Naqash, could not be contacted despite calls on her phone.