BUGAM: Since its installation 12 years ago, the X-ray generator at the Public Health Centre (PHC) here in Kulgam district’s Bugam village has not been used to produce a single X-ray, leaving over a dozen villages dependent on private diagnostic centres.
According to sources, the X-ray generator was acquired through a supplier and installed in the year 2006.
“The machine, however, never worked and no one in the department raised an eyebrow about it in the last 12 years,” sources at the PHC said.
The PHC, as per official reports, caters to the health care needs of over a dozen villages including Bugam, Sunigam, Bolsoo, Sopar, Zazripora, Paljan, Awgam, Ramgarh and others.
“Despite catering to the health care needs of so many people, the centre’s sole X-ray machine, and the only one for this area, has been lying defunct all this time,” Abdul Rasheed Mir, a local, told Kashmir Reader.
Other locals Kashmir Reader talked to said they were forced to go to Kulgam or other places to get X-rays performed at private diagnostic centres.
“X-ray is no longer a cheap affair. With the advent of digital X-ray machines, private labs charge anywhere between Rs 400 to 500,” another local, Muhammad Yousuf, told Kashmir Reader.
Employees at the PHC express helplessness, though.
“I joined here in about 2010 and I have never seen the machine work, what can I say about it?” an employee told Kashmir Reader, requesting anonymity. “I don’t know anything.”
The employees told Kashmir Reader that there have been no efforts on the part of the department to even look into the issue, let alone resolve it. Block Medical Officer (BMO), Kulgam, Dr Rafiq Salati acknowledged that the X-ray generator has never worked since its installation.
“At the time of the installation, there was a trial run, in which the machine worked fine. But after that it stopped and could never be made to work again,” Dr Salati told Kashmir Reader.
He said a proposal to replace the machine had been recently floated with the local lawmaker and he had hopes of the machine being replaced soon.
“Its motherboard has been damaged, and it’s a costly affair to replace it. Instead, the machine will be replaced,” the BMO said. Locals, however, laugh at the assurance, saying it might take the Health Department another 10 years before the machine is replaced.