Neonatal deaths: 36 Paediatricians left to cater the entire peripheries in Valley

Srinagar: With increasing deaths of neonates being reported in the state, the government has failed miserably to enhance the number of doctors in this vital sector.

“There are only 36 Paediatricians taking care of the child care health system in peripheries. These doctors too prefer referring patients to Srinagar and are attending to the ailments like cough and fever only,” said a source.

What is more pathetic and what is adding to the grim situation, is that these 36 Paediatricians are lying scattered in different district and sub-district hospitals, leading to the failure of effective delivery system on ground, besides resulting in only adding to the burden of the central health care system.

Data available with ‘Kashmir Vision’ states that there are only 36 Paediatricians in-position against the total sanctioned number of 58 posts, leaving 22 positions vacant.

In contrast to the specialist strength available in peripheries, valley’s lone Paediatric care hospital GB Panth, Srinagar, as per sources, is equipped with around 50 paediatricians, which includes faculty and post graduates.

Still, the number at GB Panth hospital, is said not be not enough to cater to the huge rush that is being referred from peripheries.

On an average, a Paediatrician in the peripheries attends to the rush of 200 patients per OPD, and it has been observed that the cases that need immediate attention and specialized treatment are referred to the facilities available at the Central health care system, which is lying burdened.

Experts say that manpower lying scattered is good for nothing, as there should not have been any need of referring the patient to Srinagar.

“The number of paediatricians fails to enhance the working of the system, because left alone they cannot do anything,” said a medico.

What is another interesting fact is that the consultants/paediatricians at district and sub district level have been left to treat ailments like cough and fever, which, as per experts could have been taken of care by a trained medical officer.

 “They lack backup of specialized people at district and sub district level and they are left with no option but to refer the patients,” Dr Suhail Naik, President Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) said.

The referrals often cause deaths, because the ‘golden hour’ is lost while travelling from a remote village is Kupwara to Srinagar, “with the result there are increased deaths,” he said, but he was quick to add “still the infant mortality rate is better in the state.”

While pointing out to lacunas in the system, experts are suggesting a remedy to the ailing paediatric health care in Kashmir, in a way which enhances the functioning of the healthcare and in particular the paediatric care.

“There is need to club the available manpower, which is lying scattered, hardly making an impact the way it is being made to operate,” says Dr Naik.

“If these available 36 paediatrics are clubbed at two different hospitals: one in north and one in south, and are provided with required facilities, the arrangement can do wonders, in addition, train the medical officers who can attend to the ailments like cough and fever in newborns in OPDs,” he said, adding “there is also a need to fill the vacant paediatric position in peripheries.

“There will be steep fall in referral rate, which will result in less number of deaths—if such a shift is brought in the policy,” he added.



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