Kashmir has best Govt. Healthcare

Despite socio-political hurdles and the threat of militancy, for the second consecutive year, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Health Department has received IndiaToday magazine’s prestigious award for primary healthcare, surpassing health departments from metropolitan cities and other states.

The award, given by India Today magazine after conducting a survey across India, was received by J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah during a function in New Delhi in 2011.

Meanwhile, the state is taking more steps to ensure improved healthcare in coming years, according to local journalists.

The State government is now considering a proposal “for opening and upgrading of various health institutions in the state”, J&K Health Minister Shabir Ahmad Khan has stated. Officials, will identify areas where the services are needed the most.

Khan says the infant mortality rate in the region is dramatically declining.  “Availability of the doctors in rural areas is very good. Our innovations in the health sector have been good. We are providing basic life-support training; we are training people in different disciplines and raising a team of skilled professionals. From time to time we organise camps to inform people about different diseases,” he said.

“We are upgrading our infrastructure. Many hospitals are under construction in the state where we are spending millions of rupees. As we progress, I am sure we would be able to provide good services to the people,” Khan added.

J&K Health Services Director Saleem Ur Rehman commented that the department’s extraordinary work has brought honours on a regular basis.

“Our healthcare facilities have moved ahead in the last few years. We are providing chemotherapy facilities in the frontier district of Kupwara and also satisfactory health services in remote areas,” Rehman said. “We are providing Basic Life Support system training to 4,000 people, under a trainer from Switzerland in the Valley. … We have gone beyond providing primary and secondary health services.”

One of the Health Department’s recent successes was a polio immunization campaign, during which nearly two million Kashmiri children were vaccinated. The anti-polio efforts contrast sharply with the situation in neighbouring Pakistan, where radical Islamists have disrupted immunization efforts and attacked health workers.

Locals impressed

Although infrastructure and funding remain a challenge, many Kashmiris say they are impressed with the quality of available treatment and the dedication of the medical staff.

“We don’t have adequate financial support but I am thankful to the hospital staff members who are providing us everything that they can,” said the mother of  a 16-year-old patient undergoing treatment for leukemia at the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences.

 “Even blood platelet bags are provided free here. The same costs thousands of rupees bought from a private hospital,” she told a local journalist. “I am thankful to the hospital staffers here, who are providing wonderful services for people who are not well off.”

An engineering student from Srinagar’s old city undergoing treatment for gastritis, said the Health Department is doing an admirable job, given the lack of adequate infrastructure. “Doctors visit regularly for my check-up. They bagged an award for providing better primary health services even though they lack sophistiated healthcare equipment as compared to other states,” he said, adding, “This is great and admirable.”

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Posted by on March 13, 2013. Filed under Kashmir. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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