‘Cattle getting better facilities than people’
ANANTNAG: A Primary Health Centre (PHC), catering to the health care needs of more than 5,000 people here in Akoora area of Anantnag district, shares its building with the local veterinary unit.
This New Type Primary Health Centre (NTPHC) of Akoora and the Veterinary Centre of the Animal Husbandry Department, under Mattan block, have been operating under a single roof several years now. The two centres share the same entrance as well.
The arrangement has been such for over four years now as the Health Department continues to look the other way. Ironically, the health care facilities for cattle at the facility are much better than those for humans.
“It was a school building, as you can see, the Government Girls’ Middle School. But, fortunately enough, the school has now been shifted, and the two health care centres, one for cattle and another for us, are functional in the samr building,” Ghulam Muhammad Dar, a local, told Kashmir Reader.
The other locals Kashmir Reader talked to called the state of affairs humiliating.
“Isn’t it humiliating that the people of this area are treated no better than the cattle. Or in this case I will say, the cattle are treated better,” another local resident, Irfan Ahmad, said.
He lamented that the patients have to walk through the same entrance as the cattle and have every chance of catching infections from them.
“Or the cattle from the humans,” the locals joke, and follow their joke up with facts. “At least the cattle have a doctor for them. We have a couple of technicians fulfilling all the roles of the PHC for the past four years now.”
The locals add that they spend money and visit Anantnag or some other far-off place to get their health care needs attended to.
“It is better to go to Anantnag than to visit this cattle shed. But then this option too is available only to people who can afford the money needed to visit elsewhere. The ones who cannot afford the money remain stuck with the cattle.”
The Health Department has been maintaining for the last four years that this was a temporary arrangement, which is exactly what the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, told Kashmir Reader on Tuesday as well.
“The new building for the PHC is under construction and the centre will be shifted as soon as the new building is completed,” the CMO said, without committing to a time frame for the shifting of the facility.
Till the centre is shifted, the locals will have continue feeling less privileged than cattle in the area.