Tral: A single Female Multipurpose Health Worker (FMPHW) is catering to the healthcare needs of more than 500 households of several villages here in Tral area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
The villages include Panner, Sangnaad, Kathnaad, Hajinaad and Jageer, which collectively have a population of over 3,000 people.
The area has only one Sub-Health Centre (SHC), located in Panner village, on which all the other villages are dependent.
The centre however is run by one nurse under the National Health Mission, who remains available for several hours during the day.
Most people in the villages mentioned live in tough mountain terrain and have to travel treacherous routes by foot to avail of medical attention.
“That is only if we can call a single nurse ‘medical attention’,” remarked the local Auqaf president, Wali Muhammad Rather, while talking to Kashmir Reader.
The next-nearest health facility for the villages is Sub-district Hospital Tral, which is located more than 10 kilometres, and more, from them.
“It’s a struggle to reach Tral for we don’t have a sound transport system to and from our homes,” said a local, Muhammad Ramzan Dar.
Dar said that the struggle becomes a nightmare in case somebody falls ill during the night hours.
“Getting someone down the mountains is the first nightmare and then finding a vehicle to take them to Tral is another,” Dar said.
The residents lament that the journey to Tral becomes all the more dangerous during night hours given the regular patrols of government forces in the area.
“We have time and again requested the authorities to at least post one doctor at the facility if they cannot upgrade it to a PHC,” said another local, Basheer Ahmad Dar.
He said that the Health authorities have been adamant that the area does not meet the population prerequisites for setting up a PHC.
“But how wise is it to keep more than 3,000 people devoid of a doctor? Who has made these rules by virtue of which humans are treated as mere numbers?” asked the locals.
Kashmir Reader talked to Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Pulwama, Dr Jaffar Akhoon regarding the issue, and he said that he would personally visit the area.
“There are set guidelines for setting up of a new type of PHC, which demand that the area must have at least 5,000 souls living in it,” Akhoon said.
He however added that his office keeps on sending proposals for up-gradation as and when the need to do so is felt.
“You have brought this to my notice. I will definitely visit the area myself and take stock of the situation,” he said.