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A Publication
on The Status of
Adivasi Populations
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Healthcare System Of Jammu And Kashmir: We Haven’t Learned Lessons!

By Kashoo Tawseef

01 March, 2015

As Leigh Hunt, has beautifully said “The groundwork of all contentment is health,” and for that you need good healthcare and strong infrastructure. When such structure is struggling you can put a strong foundation for any other groundwork. Same is the case with the healthcare system of Jammu and Kashmir, and has always been in struggling phase and this is an opinion that I expressed five years ago in one of my columns and still holds the meaning. As goes the Kashmiri adage ‘zov aur jaha'an aur’ meaning health is wealth but unfortunately in Jammu and Kashmir, we don’t focus much on it and lack of infrastructure and health consciousness adds more to this agony and state of health affairs of the state. The debate well started and illustrated by others in various columns of print and electronic media about state healthcare, and the subsequent letters and opinions provides food for thought for one and all, as it concerns all of us today.

When we talk of healthcare of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, things always happen in a weird way and more oddly when it is related to hygiene and care. For example, the food items that people consume before purchasing from the market are kept for display by the green grocers, shopkeepers, and street vegetable vendors openly, and without any proper storage system, and at the end of day the whole dust of the bad roads contaminates these food items. These unhygienic food items are being consumed by the general public, while on the other hand, if you look, for example, at the foot-ware shops or any other non-food stuff shops and vendors, they are being kept in a clean, and well arranged in glass cases to please and delight the customers. Result of this irony is increase in the number of illnesses among the common masses of the state. The recent debate about healthcare is an eye opener, mentioning about the number of out-door patients that visit the states tertiary care hospital during each year.

More bizarrely, if one looks at the prestigious hospital of the state, like SKIMS, one will be more surprised rather shocked to know that the infrastructure and manpower is struggling to handle the current swine flu pandemic. The irony is that the patients with different issues and including swine flue are being kept in the same wards of the hospital. Still after almost many years of this virus coming back, there is no general awareness given to the masses and they know don’t know if’s and but’s of the virus. That again results in the increase in the number of illnesses due to the negligence. Irony is that the concerned officials of health at the airport are using surgical mask while as three layers mask is recommended for this type of virus flu. They are themselves at risk of being infected with this virus, how they can manage others. We surely need to explore the mechanism for fixing responsibility whenever any death occurs in any hospital of the state, but the question is how and who will fix it and own the responsibility. BIG QUESTION?

Another snag is the lack of proper medical infrastructure, medical technologies, and medical expertise; and more importantly the vaccines and masks, whatever was available is already out of stock. As was well illustrated by someone in a column the other day that operation theatre has been kept in the third floor, making it difficult for patients to reach out there at ease and elevators meant for that often happen to be out of order. Moreover for digital X-ray, the patients are referred outside the hospitals then what purpose hospitals serve remains unanswered.

With all such unanswered questions one can say that in Jammu and Kashmir, everything has significance and worth of something even the foot-ware that one purchases from the market but ‘Human Lives’ remain valueless. So outlandish that we didn’t ascertain the connotation of famous maxim ‘health is wealth.’

Kashoo Tawseef : Born in conflict area, Kashoo Tawseef is a student of Media Studies and political science. His articles and essays have appeared in the Greater Kashmir, Kashmir Times, Rising Kashmir, Etalaat and in other media journals. His paper about the resolution of a Conflicts and a way forward won a journalism and research award in the United Kingdom. You can record your viewpoint at k dot tawseef at the rate gmail.com






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