Shopian: Among the many facilities lacking in the health care sector, district Shopian has no ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor for its more than three lakh inhabitants. Patients still were admitted in outdated and unhygienic wards which lack modern gadgets.
The district hospital of Shopian has only five staff nurses and four pharmacists, badly affecting health services in this mountainous South Kashmir district. The absence of a computed tomography (CT) scan machine at the hospital adds to the woes of patients forced to visit the hospitals of neighbouring district or hospitals in Srinagar.
Hundreds of patients daily have to travel to other districts for want of an ENT doctor since none of the Shopian hospitals have such a post sanctioned, despite the fact that the district was created in 2007.
A senior doctor based at the district hospital told Kashmir Reader that they face problems daily when patients ask for ENT doctors.
“People even abuse us, but they must know that we have no authority to create new posts of doctors. Dozens of patients suffering from ENT ailments leave hospital with broken hearts, and there are many such cases of ENT patients whose disease had turned chronic due to the lack of a specialist in the district,” he said.
A group of locals, including senior citizens, told Kashmir Reader that one order from the Governor’s office can end all the health-related miseries of the district’s people.
Instead, they say, previous governments have intentionally ignored Shopian.
“During the last state assembly election, politicians made us mountain-like promises that the Shopian hospital will be upgraded to a district-level hospital if they come to power. When they did, they ignored us from the first day of their rule and similar was the case with other parties as well,” said Gulzar Ahmad, one among the delegation.
Muhammad Rizwan, a local who had come to the hospital in need of an ENT consultation, told Kashmir Reader that he had come here three years ago with the same problem but there was no doctor then.” Today, I visited the hospital again with the hope that the said post may have been sanctioned, but, no, there isn’t anyone still,” he lamented.
Similarly, many patients have to travel more than 60 kilometres to reach Srinagar or Anantnag-based hospitals to have access to CT scans, draining them of money, according to locals, and at the same consuming a lot of time.
Local residents told Kashmir Reader that the wards of the old hospital building are unhygienic and lack modern gadgets and machines. They added that the old wards have no heating or cooling facilities which instead of providing relief to patients, makes them even more ill.
Doctors based in Shopian also said that many problems for patient care were further worsened by the new hospital building being still incomplete.
The work on the new building started in 2009, but despite nine years having passed, two of its stories are still incomplete, among which one floor being for wards.
Chief Medical Officer, Shopian, Dr Abdul Rasheed told Kashmir Reader that an ENT specialist and a CT scan analyser had not been sanctioned for the district yet.
“Two stories of the new building are still pending and we even have no space to place CT scan machinery. Paramedic staff, like nurses and pharmacists, too were not sanctioned for this district,” he added. He added that the Governor’s office can create history by upgrading the Shopian hospital to a district-level hospital.
Deputy General manager, Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation, Masood Ahmad Wangoo told Kashmir Reader that they would be handing over the hospital’s third storey to the authorities after 45 days and that the fourth one will also be completed after four months. “The government has not yet released funds for the second structure that was to be constructed besides the under-construction building,” he said.
Earlier, the government had sanctioned a hundred-bed building for the district hospital and, according to hospital sources, it initiated the construction of two buildings for the purpose. Among them, there was provision for a ramp and a lift, but till date no funds were released for the second portion of the building.