Budgam: A single nurse is catering to more than eight villages at the New Type Primary Health Center (NTPHC) in Ringzabal area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district, reflecting the sorry state of healthcare in the district.
The health centre caters to a large chunk of population but the building does not even have a signboard intalled. It operates from a single decrepit rented room.
The NTPHC was acting as a sub heath centre in the village, but after the struggle of local residents it was upgraded in 2014.
“Although it was upgraded to the NTPHC but till date it is functioning as a sub centre,” locals rued.
They added that they were pleased at its upgrading thinking that they would have access to basic health facilities. However, their dreams are yet to be fulfilled.
The centre is grappling with shortage of doctors, paramedics, building and key diagnostic facilities. As per local residents, the PHC functions has a single nurse on duty who they said is not punctual either.
Local residents allege that the centre sometimes opens at 12 pm and closes at 2 pm, and also remains closed at night.
“The PHC is only on papers and lacks even the basic facilities of a sub centre due to lack of staff, and everything” said Mushtaq Ahmad, a local resident, adding that every time visit the centre hoping to get first aid they have to return disappointed.
Children and expecting mothers are the worst sufferers. “We are fed up of taking up the matter with the authorities and no one comes forward to help us,” said Ahmad.
Patients continue to throng the health centre despite lack of medicos. Many patients are forced to go to other hospitals or private clinics.
Locals questioned the purpose of having primary health centre without doctors and basic amenities.
“What for is this PHC if it doesn’t help us in anyway? The staff is not here, even the health centre has no sign board on it,” a resident of Zogu village said.
“Last week I went to this hospital with my ailing sister but I was told to take her to somewhere else because the centre lacks even the first aid,” he said.
“Last year a woman in labour pain died on way to the hospital because it is far away from here,” said Adil Jahangeer, a former sarpanch.
“No one bothers to care, neither politicians nor authorities. They only came to fetch votes and nothing else,” residents alleged.
Chief Medical Officer Budgam G M Dar admitted that the “upgraded NTPHC” lacks manpower and basic facilities.
“Although it has a sanctioned post of a doctor, paramedics and a nurse but till date they have not reported,” Dar said.
“It is upto government, when they will depute staff, they will come,” he added.