The institutional failure of healthcare system in Jammu and Kashmir

By JUNAID MALIK

           The two most important factors of public welfare in any nation state could be best judged by its education and healthcare which the state provides to its subjects , but unfortunately these two sectors in India have become highly privatized and commercial in nature. Whereas the Pharma industry is itself controlled by rich political elites of the country, the health care system in India is in shambles despite of hundreds of welfare schemes which are confined to paper work, advertisements and photo oops. The ground reality is far from mere sloganeering and hollow rhetorics.
             The recent case of tribal women in Kashmir jolted the whole country wherein the pregnant lady was thrown out of the hospital in sub zero temperature who consequently gave birth to a dead female child in the middle of the road. The irony of the fact is that many districts and voluntary organizations were also holding workshops and awareness camps on Ayushman Bharat and “Beti Bachao Beti Phado” , the flagship programme of government of India to save girl child and female mortality ratio on the dais day as well.

“Causes”

          The biggest problem of the country and more specifically of Jammu and Kashmir is that of institutional failure and politicisation of health care system. The successive governments does not take the scientific and holistic view of schemes in totality before formulating any policy. The sanctioning of six AIIMS pattern hospitals were taken to ameliorate the sufferings of the people but nothing is being done to equip the existing hospitals and public health centers. The premier institutions like GMCs and other peripheral hospitals doesn’t cater to the huge rush of patients who rush to them despite of district hospitals in every district. The District Hospital and Public Health Centers are just bricks and walls for few employees to draw monthly salary. Thousands of women, new born and accidental patients die on daily basis in these hospitals.
         According to World Health Organization there is great disparity in doctor-patient ratio. The WHO recommends 1:1000 whereas its 1:2000 in india and Jammu and Kashmir at the lowest ebb of 1:3864. This disparity directly effects the lives of people which is further aggravated by sluggish system of recruitments and placements in the public sector.
             The district are themselves running short of doctors and specialized equipments needed for the critical cases.The Public health centers remain mostly close or open with no doctor to look after the patients. Thanks to political machinery and corrupt bureaucracy for devising the plans of attachments and need basis.
           The medical colleges in both the divisions doesn’t cater to the thousands of patients who throng them. Even in emerging wards multiple patients are accommodated in the same bed let alone the emergencyand accidental cases. Doctors more specifically junior doctors work at a stretch for more than fourth hours to treat thousands of patients in OPDs. Even the patients with serious ailments of kidney failures, cancer have to wait for months for their respective treatments and therapies. These dysfunctional peripheral and over crowded city hospitals are playing havoc with the health care of the state.
             Moreover the doctors who pass out every year from the medical colleges are not ready to serve in villages and their respective native place because of low career prospects and unprofessional environment which often leads to conflict even between the doctors and patients which is galore with the increasing rate of thrashing of paramedics , damage to hospital properties and scuffles between the patients and doctors. This uneven distribution of patients, ill equipped peripheral hospitals, huge ratio gap of doctors and patients,low career prospects and to the politicization of health department is becoming detrimental to the lives of the people .

“Need”

        The need of the hour is to streamline the system. The biggest need of the time is equip the district hospitals and public health centers both in human resource and machinery which would eventually give respite to the doctors and patients as well. It must made mandatory for the doctors even at the entry level to serve their native places at-least for a decade both for experience to know the basic requirements and serve the people.The biggest problem which disturbs the whole equilibrium is that the doctors are not ready to serve outside the twin cities of Jammu and Srinagar. They prefer to go to other cities and foreign countries for better future and huge dividends. Even the specialized serving doctors spend decades in gulf in Europe despite on the government roll which itself is the depiction of our legal system and law enforcement mechanism. Let the trade of unethical practices of major chunk of doctors be not discussed in detail here.
         Only infrastructural development won’t set right the track but other corrective measures needs to be taken away from pomp and show with result oriented policy , streamlining the induction and service rules, depoliticization of heath department, better supply of human resource and advanced equipments, strict check on spurious drugs and unethical practices of doctors can help a lot to streamline the healthcare of the state. Besides the doctors must bear in mind that he is next to god for a patient and people must not forget that they are human beings like all of us with their own needs and need and necessities though blots are present in every profession.
{ The author is Freelance Journalist , Columnist and President Global Peace Foundation and can be reached at malikjunaid22@gmail.com 7006297586 , 9906024843 } .

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