SHOPIAN: Even as the residents of Shopian are waiting for the creation of district level hospital, the condition of existing sub-district hospital (SDH) is going from “bad to worse”.
The hospital is also a big mismatch for the volatile district, where dozens of persons injured in confrontations with government forces are brought in every other day.
On April 1, more than 100 people were injured,
50 of them with bullet wounds, in the district, but all were referred to Srinagar based hospitals for treatment.
Insiders said the infrastructure and manpower of the hospital is same as it was in 1979 at its establishment barring some increase in paramedic staff.
“In the present strength of doctors and machinery we can only give first aid, and for rest of things we have no option than to refer the patients,” a doctor posted at the hospital said wishing not to be named.
He added than an operation theatre remains functional during daytime, but a patient coming in late hours is shifted out.
A health expert said that given the distance to Srinagar (65 kms), the volatile situation of the district and accidents on Mughal road, there should be very well equipped hospital including a trauma centre in the district.
Chief Medical Officer Shopian, Dr Abdul Rasheed said the hospital has “five specialists and seven medical officers sanctioned”.
“But for bearing the load of the district we should have 30 medical officers and 20 specialists,” Rasheed said.
“My job is to utilize the available staff and machinery. Creation of new posts and machinery is not my domain”.
The construction on the new hospital building is incomplete, despite the work having started in 2009.
“We have taken only two stories out of four but as per its design we are only able to run OPD there because the work on wards and theater is yet to get started,” a doctor posted in hospital said.
Many residents say the government is intentionally neglecting the district.
“In winter session of assembly, government bragged about infrastructure and creation of new posts but four months on we haven’t seen a single change in infrastructure or doctors,” Farooq Ahmad Mir, a resident of Shopian, said.
Doctors from the hospital complain that the old buildings are outdated, lack modern facilities and the operation theater was “worst in valley”.
“There is no arrangement of latrines for the attendants. Garbage is lying everywhere. It seems the constructing agency would take several more years to complete the half portion of new building,” an insider from health department said.
A group of senior citizens told Kashmir Reader that even sub-centers of other districts have better facilities than the Shopian hospital.
“We are facing huge problems due to lack of facilities and unavailability of doctors and we are often forced to go to hospitals of other districts or Srinagar. We request chief minister to look into our problems and order creation of district hospital for Shopian,” Muhammad Shafi Khan said.
Many resident say the hospital should at least have an ophthalmologist.
“Not only people of Kashmir but people is other parts of world know that how many injured patients were recently shifted to Srinagar based hospitals and they died on way and the reason is there are no facilities in Shopian hospital,” Farooq Ahmad Bhat, another resident said.
Member of Legislative Assembly from Shopian, Muhammad Yousuf Bhat, admitted lack of facilities at the hospital. “The hospital is going worse from bad but the government has assured me creation of a district level within months,” he said adding that if the demands were not met he would hit the streets to protest.
Member of Legislative Council, Showkat Ahmad Ganie told Kashmir Reader that he has raised the issue of hospital in Assembly, and district board meeting.
“The chief minister has assured us that a district level hospital will be created in Shopian within a month,” he said.
When contacted, minister of state for health, Asiya Naqash told Kashmir Reader that they are working on the hospital.
“We are looking for creation of district hospital. We are working for the appointment of doctors through public service commission,” she said.
Asked about the new building which is incomplete and without ramp or lift, she said they will work on that also.