Hajin: With its lone X-ray machine defunct, the Community Health Centre (CHC) Hajin in North Kashmir’s Bandipora District is causing patients from several villages of this area discomfort and distress. Forced to travel to Sumbal or Bandipora for the facility, the, The majority of those in the area in need of an X-ray scan get it done at hefty amounts from private labs, which only increases their justified annoyance.
According to the locals, the health centre caters to a large population spread out over Madwan, Shahgund, Gundjageer and other adjoining villages of Hajin medical block.
Despite being one of the ‘old’ government-run CHCs, locals say the facility does not have a digital X-ray machine, which even doctors agree is required for efficient delivery and to meet the patient rush. The old type of X-ray machine available at the centre has been defunct “for the last more than two weeks”, locals and staff said.
Moreover, the locals say that the CHC lacks all basic facilities which it is supposed to have and, besides, also suffers from a complete dearth of specialists.
The locals further alleged that the required medicine supplies are not given to the patients, but they are instead forced to purchase them from outside.
“We are told that this is a CHC, but the facilities here are no better than a primary health centre, ” a local, Abdul Rasheed, said.
Another aggrieved local, Zahoor Ahmad, said, “Somehow we have been blessed with a 1960s style X-ray machine despite being in an era when digital machines are being installed everywhere. Even that machine has been unusable since at least 20 days with no one bothering to repair it, despite the facility having five X-ray technicians who are enjoying a leisurely time since the machine went defunct.”.
The locals also said, “The five available doctors are mostly NRHM (National Rural Health Mission) staff, and only two surgeons visit the centre twice a week while the much-required gynaecologist’s post has been left vacant intentionally.”
Zahoor further alleged that the hospital authorities were forcing patients to buy medicines from outside while the medication supply from the government was sold to retailers at half the price.
Block Medical Officer Dr Tariq Ahmad agreed that the machine was left defunct and said the process to repair it was going on.
Dr Ahmad said, “We have bought the required tube, and it will be installed on the machine in one to two days.”
Stating that the digital X-ray machine was needed in the centre, he said that they had written to the higher authorities several times but the requisite equipment wasn’t approved yet.
The BMO informed that the centre has three X-ray technicians.
He also further said that while they had “enough available doctors at the centre, but the non-availability of specialist doctors, including gynaecologists, is a problem for the local populace”.
Denouncing the allegations of supply medicines being unavailable or sold to outside retailers, he said, “The medicine is available all the time in abundance here, but the patients never feel it is satisfactory and want to overdose themselves or consume extra medicines which aren’t required or prescribed by the doctors.”