Anantnag: The inordinate delay in the proposed upgrade of at least five New-Type Primary Health Centres (NTPHCs), across Pulwama district in south Kashmir, is weighing heavy on the people dependent on these health facilities as well as on the secondary health care system of the district.
The upgrade of the NTPHCs was listed in the district’s “Vision Document 2020-22” with an estimated cost of Rs 9.33 crore. The facilities to be upgraded were in Ratnipora, Parigam, Rathsuna, Aripal, and Puchal.
“The up-gradation was meant to provide thousands of people, dependent on these health facilities, better health care at their doorstep,” an official in the Pulwama district administration, requesting not to be named, said.
He said that the upgrade of these facilities would have meant that the secondary health centers, like SDHs and the district hospital, would have witnessed a thinning of the footfall.
“But no concrete steps have been taken in this regard, even after two years of the ‘vision document’,” the official said. “I am not sure what the reasons have been for the delay, though.”
People in these areas feel that they have been left out and kept devoid of basic health care needs. In Ratnipora, people said that their Sub-Centre was deemed upgraded to an NTPHC a few years back, but nothing has changed thus far.
“The center continues to run from the same dilapidated building and with the same infrastructure as well as staff strength,” residents in Ratnipora said, adding that several villages remain dependent on the center and are forced to go to other hospitals when in need.
Kashmir Reader talked to some people in Aripal, who lamented that the stalled upgrade means they have to travel more than 10 kilometres to Sub-District Hospital (SDH), Tral, every time someone falls sick.
“It is an absolute grind. And the same condition of other NTPHCs means SDH Tral remains occupied beyond its strength,” the locals said. “Health care for us has become a major concern, that too during the pandemic,” they said.
Three out of the five NTPHCs to be upgraded fall within the Tral area of Pulwama district. For these people, other hospitals remain too far off and inaccessible, especially during the winters.
The people of these areas lament that they have been taking up their grievances with officials, time and again, but nothing has been done thus far.
Kashmir Reader talked to Dr Haseena, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Pulwama district, who acknowledged that the up-gradation mentioned in the “vision document” is yet to be taken up.
“I am not sure what the reasons are, but I will inquire and let you know,” the CMO said.