NTPHC label a hoax, say villagers
Bandipora: The upgradation of a rural government health centre in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district, which was said to have been done years ago, has now emerged to have been carried out only on paper, denying patients in the area medical care in times of need.
Meanwhile, the so-called New Type Primary Health Centre (NTPHC) at Banakoot village in Bandipora is still functioning as a sub-centre.
Banakoot also neighbours a cluster of small nomadic villages located uphill from it and directly dependent on it for care in times of emergency or for basic health requirements.
The villagers are both angry and disappointed over the failure of successive governments over the years to provide them the promised health care facility.
“No healthcare,” the villagers say, but in turn continue, “The government hoodwinked us with the false belief that we would be provided with an upgraded health facility where doctors would be available to treat patients and there would be a facility equipped with a laboratory and the necessary machinery.”
Terming the government’s announcement that the PHC had been upgraded into an NTPHC as a “hoax”, the annoyed villagers said, “To give us a false impression, the signage at the hospital building was replaced with a new one branding it as an NTPHC. But that was a hoax, as in reality, the health centre runs with the same strength as it worked with prior to the signage being upgraded.”
Another villager seconded him, saying, “The government played a hoax to please their bosses at a higher level and give the false notion to us innocent villagers that we had been benefited.”
A pharmacist at the health centre who refused to be named said the facility was upgraded four years ago, but “I don’t know whether it was done on paper only or if the orders were exercised practically. The fact remains that it runs as a sub-centre after the four-year-old order that the centre was now an NTPHC with staff strength of a pharmacist, two female primary health workers, a sweeper and a driver.”
According to officials, the NTPHC requires at least one lady doctor, a staff nurse, a lab technician, a pharmacist and a nursing orderly. Apart from its staff, the facility must have an X-ray lab and a laboratory. However, the NTPHC at Banakoot village has none among the above-mentioned facilities, thus corroborating the claims of the villagers and the official.
Interestingly, the Block Medical Officer, Bandipora, Doctor Syed Rehman also agrees that the health facility works as an NTPHC, stating that, “They are newly upgraded, and the requisite equipment hasn’t come yet. When they arrive, they will straight away be sent to the facilities.”