Residents suffer for lack of space and facilities at health centres
BUDGAM: A decade after the construction of several new type primary health centre buildings began in Budgam district, most of the works are either incomplete or left midway. In the meanwhile, many important health centres are running from cramped and unhygienic spaces.
For instance, the primary health centre (PHC) in Gondipora village has been operating from a dilapidated building which mostly remains inundated in water.
“It is not possible to provide diagnostic and treatment facilities to the people in such circumstances,” a staffer at the PHC said, adding that most of the equipments have gone into disuse.
A new double storey building has been almost completed but sources said “political rivalries” and “lackadaisical” approach of government has been creating hurdles.
Block Medical Officer Beerwah, Bashir Ahmad Khan, however, said that the 80 percent of the work on the building was complete, while as 20 percent of work has been pending for couple of years because of the shortage of funds.
Similarly, in Tilsara and Shalina villages in Chrar-e-Sharief medical block, new buildings for PHCs have been under construction for a decade.
According to officials, both these PHCs are running in rented buildings which are unhygienic and cramped.
The Shalina health centre is running from an abandoned, decrepit, unhygienic accommodation that once served as a sub centre.
Lockers, dustbins and beds lie scattered in small rooms with hardly any place for patients or attendants to sit.
“The employees and the patients have been forced to sit in a small space like flock of sheep crammed in sheds,” an official said.
BMO Chrar-e-Sharief Dr Masroofa told Kashmir Reader that due to the lack of infrastructure the hospitals are acting like sub centres.
“No important machines like X -ray, ECG, dental or other necessary sections can be accommodated there,” she said.
Even the doctor is not there because there is no such infrastructure where doctors can sit, Masroofa added.
Similarly, at Tilsara in Chrar-e-Sharief the PHC lacks space and facilities. There is no doctor, no lab and nothing in this health centre. Only few pharmacists are posted to treat every kind of disease.
The patients and the people have been repeatedly requesting the government to throw open the new hospital building but on one or the other pretext they (government) are delaying it, locals said.
“To overcome the space crunch we have erected few lockers and almirahs to differentiate between two major section; immunisation section and laboratory section,” an employee said.
Local residents said they are facing hardships for lack of facilities at the PHC which caters to a large chunk of population.
“Over 15,000 people living in the area are facing lots of hardship as the only primary health centre in our area is devoid of basic facilities,” Showkat Ahmad, a local resident said.
The situation at primary health centre Makhama in Magam area is also not encouraging.
“The PHC Makhama was considered to be the largest health facility in the area. But now it faces a host of problems. Currently, the health centre is functioning without basic facilities since the concerned department never paid any attention towards its maintenance. Owing to the absence of basic facilities, patients are forced to approach private medical centres,” Ghulam Mohammad, a local resident said.
Besides the shortage of specialist doctors, posts of pharmacist and dispensers are vacant at the PHC, he said.
The X-ray machine is nowhere to be found. A senior doctor said they have to refer patients to private centres. He said the hospital administration had lodged several complaints with the authorities but to no avail.
The hospital has a laboratory but without proper equipments. An old ambulance provided to the hospital a decade ago is reportedly defunct.
Local residents said that they have to hire private vehicles to take patients to some other hospitals in cases of emergency.
Tariq, a local resident, said the authorities should fill the vacant posts of specialist doctors as well a surgeon who can carry out minor surgeries.
Construction for a new building of the PHC is going at snail’s pace for a decade.
“If it goes at same speed, it will take another decade to finish,” Ajaz Bhat, a local said.
“Although two crores have been released for the construction of new building, by the department, but the irony is that the work is going on at snails pace,” Abdul Rahim, a man said.
The PHC Makhama (Magam) currently runs from a building that used to be a sub centre earlier.
The PHC has five beds with a sheet and a pillow on it. But all beds have been kept in a tin shed constructed by a local resident committee. The room has no window or ventilation.
The PHC has single bathroom for public and staff as well.
It also lacks staff, labs, equipments, and space to perform deliveries.
“We send samples to Magam CHC,” said an Asha worker at the PHC. “We don’t have access to basic cleaning supplies such as mops and buckets here.”
Local residents said the construction of new building has been stretched due to a political tussle.
Chief Medical Officer Budgam, Dr Nazir Ahmad Bhat said he has “recently joined here and have no idea of why the work has been hampered.”
I will visit these health centres see the progress, Bhat added.