In former CM’s constituency, health centres in shambles

In former CM’s constituency, health centres in shambles
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PHC Aripanthan and Makhama lack staff, facilities

BUDGAM: From a distance it looks like an abandoned, decrepit, unhygienic building but the house accommodates the primary health centre Aripanthan (Beerwah).
Inside lockers, dustbins and beds lie scattered in small rooms. There is hardly any place to sit for patients or attendants.
“We are forced to sit in a small space like flock of sheep crammed in sheds,” an employee of health centre said.
“To overcome the space crunch we have erected few lockers and almirahs to differentiate between two major section; immunisation section and laboratory section,” said Dr Asim.
Local residents said they are facing hardships for lack of facilities at the PHC. The health centre also caters to Kandhama, Hazarpora and adjoining areas like Warihama.
“Over 15,000 people living in the area are facing lots of hardship as the only Primary Health Centre (PHC) in our area is devoid of basic facilities,” Tariq Ahmad, a local resident said.
“The PHC was considered to be the largest health facility in the area. But now it faces a host of problems. Currently, the health centre is functioning without basic facilities since the concerned department never paid any attention towards its maintenance. Owing to the absence of basic facilities, patients are forced to approach private medical centres,” he added.
Besides the shortage of specialist doctors, a post of pharmacist, X-ray technician, and dispensers are vacant at the PHC.
It also seems to lack adequate cleaning staff, as hospital waste could be been scattered in the premises. The stink from the building is causing inconvenience to the visitors as well as the hospital staff.
The X-ray machine is nowhere to be found. A senior doctor said they have to refer patients to private centres for X-ray.
“We are receiving five to seven patients on a daily basis for X-ray. Due to the unavailability of the facility, we have to ask the patients to go to private medical centres,” the doctor said.
He said the hospital administration had lodged several complaints with the authorities but to no avail.
The hospital has a laboratory but again without proper equipments. An old ambulance provided to the hospital a decade ago is reportedly defunct.
Local residents said that they have to hire private vehicles to take patients to some other hospitals in cases of emergency.
Tariq, the local resident, said the authorities should fill the vacant posts of specialist doctors as well a surgeon who can carry out minor surgeries.
Reyaz Ahmed, another resident said that the former chief minister who is now MLA of area had assured the local people that the health sector will be improved in the area, however, there has been no progress.
Construction for a new building of the PHC is going at snail’s pace.
“Although two crores have been released for the construction of new building at Aripanthan, by the R&B department, but the irony is that the work is going on at snails pace,” Abdul Rahim, a man said.
He said that besides a plinth and a wall nothing has been constructed so far.
The Primary Health Centre Makhama (Magam) faces similar problems, running from a building that used to be a sub centre earlier.
The PHC has five beds with a sheet and a pillow on it. But all beds have been kept in a tin shed constructed by a local resident committee. The room has no window or ventilation.
The PHC has single bathroom for public and staff as well.
The PHC also lacks staff, labs, equipments, and space to perform deliveries.
“We send samples to Magam CHC,” said an Asha worker at the PHC. “We don’t have access to basic cleaning supplies such as mops and buckets here.”
Local residents said the construction of new building has been going on since past six years but has not been completed due to a political tussle.
Chief Medical officer Budgam GM Dar claimed the PHCs had all the facilities available.
“Whether it be X-ray section , laboratory section, dental section or ambulance, all are functional, ” Dar added.
He said the allegation leveled by the local residents and staff were baseless.
About the construction of PHC Aripanthan Dar said the old structures in the lawn of new proposed building at Aripanthan have to be dismantled first.
“The work on dismantling will be started soon and then the construction of hospital building will take place,” he said.
About PHC Makhama, he said, the building was almost complete and would be handed over to administration soon.