BUDGAM: The government claims to be providing ambulance services for hospitals as well as Primary Health Centres (PHCs) across Kashmir valley, but the New Type Primary Health Centre (NTPHC) in Chewdara village of Beerwah Tehsil has not received a new ambulance since the old ambulance stopped functioning more than two years ago. Patients have to hire a cab to reach the health centre in cases of emergency.
This is the only health centre for the seven villages of Beerwah tehsil – Chewdara, Ohangam, Wanihuma, Check-i-Dewan, Mirpora, Dragar and Machama – which together have a population of more than 16,000.
Junaid Ahmad, a resident of Chewdara village, told Kashmir Reader that due to the unavailability of an ambulance at the health centre, the people of all seven villages in the tehsil have no option but to arrange their own transport, even in times of emergency.
“On 7th July, 2007, the ex-MLA of Khansahib Tehsil, Hakeem Yasin, donated an ambulance to the health centre. It provided much relief to the people, but only up to the year 2018,” Ahmad said.
Ghulam Ahmad Parray, a resident of Mirpora village, said that patients in his village prefer to go to the NTPHC at Chewdara as it is very close to Mirpora village.
“Since the ambulance at the health centre became unavailable, people have to spend quite a lot of money to bring patients to the health centre in emergency,” Parray said.
Mohammad Yousuf, a resident of Dragar village, questioned why the government had not provided a new ambulance to the health centre in more than two years.
Locals said that they had informed health officials from time to time about the lack of an ambulance and also raised the issue with government officials during ‘Back to Village’ public programmes. Nothing, however, has been done as yet, they said.
Block Medical Officer Beerwah, Dr Javaid Ahmad Ganie, told Kashmir Reader that he has already sent a list of the defunct ambulances to the higher authorities of the health department.
“If we receive a new ambulance vehicle, the priority will be NTPHC Chewdara,” he said.