Maternity services at SDH Nagam defunct, expecting mothers told to go elsewhere

Maternity services at SDH Nagam defunct, expecting mothers told to go elsewhere

Srinagar: A couple expecting their child last week were in a relaxed frame of mind even amid the Covid-19 situation, as the Caesarean section they required could be performed at the nearby sub-district hospital in Nagam. It was so near that the expecting mother could deliver virtually in her backyard.

Much to their shock, the expecting mother was snubbed by the hospital at the eleventh hour, with officials telling the couple on Tuesday that there were no doctors available at the hospital for performing the C-section.

This is because the particular surgical section at the Nagam sub-district hospital (SDH) has been rendered defunct as one of the two gynaecologists posted there has been attached at the JLNM Hospital in Srinagar, while the other was recently sent on home quarantine after coming in contact with a Covid-19 suspect, sources told Kashmir Reader.

To shut down even what is left, the hospital management is in discussion to relieve the two operation theatre technicians as well, sources added.

The move by the hospital administration has left the population of over 50,000 that the SDH caters to in the administrative block of Nagam, comprising dozens of villages, high and dry.

Kashmir Reader has learnt from reliable sources that deliveries of more than 70 expecting mothers were due at SDH Nagam by June 15.

A Nagam resident whose wife’s delivery is due in coming weeks is worried ever since he learnt that the maternity facility at SDH Nagam has become defunct.

“Ideally, they should have doubled efforts to facilitate expecting mothers, given the prevailing pandemic, but they are leaving us to fend for ourselves instead,” he said.

Travelling long distances for check-up and delivery, under the prevailing circumstances, will put both mother and child at risk of contracting Covid-19, he said.

Sources at SDH Nagam informed that the gynaecologist who has been attached at JLNM Hospital used to see 40 patients in the outpatient department on daily basis, besides performing C-sections.

The one sent on home quarantine attended to 60 patients in the OPD apart from regular caesareans, sources said.

With both the doctors away, the patients have been left at fate’s mercy, they said.

Apart from the gynaecologists, SDH Nagam is also short of medical and paramedical staff, including an ophthalmologist, a neurologist, and a medical officer – all of whom have been attached at JLNM Hospital Srinagar, sources informed.

There have been no efforts whatsoever from the hospital administration to seek the needed staff from the health department, sources said.

The hospital administration, they said, had now “unofficially” put ISM doctors on night duty.

BMO of the hospital, Dr Diler Ahmad Bhat, acknowledged that gynaecologists were not available. He said that the hospital was referring expecting mothers to SDH Budgam.

The BMO said that the gynaecologist sent on home quarantine will join duties on Saturday.

He further said that the theatre assistants, “who had been sought for attachment”, would stay for now after consultations held with the authorities.

Asked about the non-availability of other staffers, Dr Bhat said, “We are just short of four and there is alternate staff for them.”

CMO Budgam Dr Nazeer Ahmad Bhat, who was asked by this reporter for his comments on the matter, said, “The CMO cannot do anything in this.”

Deputy Commissioner Budgam Tariq Hussain Ganai did not respond to calls and messages from this reporter.

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