SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party President (JKAP) president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Saturday said the healthcare system in J&K can no longer afford to focus exclusively on COVID-19 containment, oblivious that its response to the pandemic is jeopardising the wellbeing and life of other non-COVID patients.

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In a statement issued here, Bukhari observed that while the healthcare system is squatted down to fight the coronavirus, the threat of more people suffering immensely from other fatal health conditions looms large. “It’s time we realise that COVID-19 containment is critical but healthcare for others can no longer be ignored,” he remarked.

The JKAP president said the non-COVID patients are bearing the brunt while attempts by a debilitated healthcare system, in J&K are on to break the tide of coronavirus pandemic.

“Amid this situation, halting OPD and non-emergency services especially in government hospitals in order to divert all its resources to combat Covid-19 is highly affecting thousands of patients across Jammu and Kashmir whose lives are in peril in absence of the requisite healthcare facilities,” Bukhari added.

Reduced access to both out-patient and hospitalisation services can prove fatal for hundreds of non-coronavirus patients; both communicable and non-communicable, Bukhari opined, adding that the health and medical education departments must ensure that while fighting against the pandemic, the price to be paid is not with the lives of non-COVID patients.

“Patients with scheduled surgical procedures and follow-up visits are undergoing an unimaginable crisis–the impact of which is compounded for patients needing hospitalised care. The perilous state in which cancer patients are forced to live without hospitalization would prove to be fatal for many. Similarly, travails of hundreds of patients of end-stage renal disease who depend on haemodialysis are perilous in the prevailing healthcare situation,” Bukhari averred.

The JKAP president said that health conditions responsible for the deaths of many children also seem to be ignored by the present healthcare policy adopted by the J&K administration.

“As per the medical experts, timely hospitalised care is much needed mostly for undernourished infants especially belonging to poor and BPL families who are suffering for want of routine check-ups, doctor consultation and access to medicines,” Bukhari added.

Stressing on the health department to facilitate routine psychiatry check-up in government hospitals for people suffering from the burden of mental health conditions particularly depression, Bukhari said that in view of the high prevalence of depression in J&K, the government should not leave such patients unattended due to its focused fight against the pandemic.

“One can understand how overwhelmed government doctors, especially in tertiary care hospitals, are at the forefront of the fight against Coronavirus, but providing healthcare facilities while abiding by the COVID-19 protocol at PHCs, CHCs, SDHs and district hospitals for non-COVID patients should also be among top priorities for the government,” he advocated.


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