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Doctors shortage hits healthcare system in Kupwara

In Kashmir’s largest district, Kupwara, healthcare delivery continues to take a hit with most hospitals, including the district hospital, having posts of crucial specialists vacant. In absence of specialist doctors, patients are but forced to travel long distances.

Sub-district hospital Kupwara, centrally located and a cardinal point for healthcare delivery for all the adjoining areas of the far flung Kupwara district is grossly understaffed. This hospital has major posts vacant, putting strain on the existing staff and hitting delivery of healthcare. The vacant positions include those of one gynecologist, consultant physician, consultant orthopedic, consultant surgeon, consultant anesthesia and consultant psychiatrist. In addition five posts of medical officers and many posts of senior an djunior nurses vacant. As per the records, nearly half of the sanctioned positions are vacant at this hospital, putting a majority of patients requiring timely interventions through unspoken inconveniences.

The hospital had once been proclaimed a district hospital given its proximity and centrality for most areas of district Kupwara but later the district hospital status was accorded to Handwara where a new medical college is coming up. SDH Kupwara has been relegated to the level of very basic functionality with its gross staff shortage. The information has been revealed by the reply to an RTI filed MM Shuja, an RTI activist from Kashmir.

Similarly, at SDH Sogam, located in Lolab Block, two posts of gyneacologists have been sanctioned nbut both are lying vacant: right from the time of the creation (as per the RTI). Out of the sanctioned strength of 20, only 11 doctors are available at the hospital, the rest of the posts vacant. In Block Kalaroos of distraict Kupwara as well, no gyanecologist is available, as per the RTI reply. District Kupwara is the farthest district from capital city of Srinagar where most of the tertiary care health facilities are located. The referral of patients takes many hours due to the distance.

In Boniyar block of district Baramulla, eight posts of medical officers are vacant while The RTI reply furnished by Block Medical Officer states that the posts of gynaecologists have been sanctioned. “However, there is no lady medical officer posted in any of the three PHCs of Boniyar” reads the RTI reply.

The issue of avoidable referrals, especially of expecting mothers has been a sore point of healthcare delivery in Kashmir. Over the years, the quality of healthcare has suffered as peripheral healthcare delivery system has not been strengthened in the manner it requires and most posts of specialists continue to remain vacant. Greater Kashmir

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