by Masood Hussain

SRINAGAR: All hospitals are trying their best to ensure the patients somehow get some relief in the battle against Covid-19. The frontline workers are technically not working for their remunerations right now. They would otherwise get it but they are putting in all this just for the sake of humanity.

Outside view of SKIMS Srinagar.
Outside view of SKIMS Srinagar.

There is no bed available at least in the SKIMS right now. That is the state and status of crisis, Kashmir is eventually caught in. This is despite that Kashmir can still claim to be a better place as for as healthcare is concerned.

I had gone to SKIMS yesterday for a re-test after staying positively in isolation for a fortnight with, thank God, mild issues. I was tested positive again but that is immaterial, the best doctors tell me. It will go away within a few days more.

I have two quick observations to make. One is about testing.

The SKIMS is the major source of our health care. I could find merely a skeletal staff both at the registration of cards, processing of the requests, and eventually the sample takers.

Director SKIMS Dr A G Ahanger

It took almost 130 minutes to finish the complete process. There was a huge crowd, driven, obviously by the same concern I had. Had the staff being more than what it is, the time could reduce and the invisible contagion can face a discouraging environment.

There are certain processes that can be managed by the semi-skilled staff, like filing of information on the mandatory forms and all that.

SKIMS authorities have been responsive to the desperate requirements of Kashmir society. If they require some NGO can even contribute a few volunteers to manage part of these basic responsibilities, which if left unattended, can trigger chaos. We do not have space now for the patients in a formal health setup.

 I did request some fellow patients who were in the queue to retain my card till I move around and join them when it is my turn. I just wanted to move away from that frightening crowd about whom nobody knew anything, not even they themselves. I took long strolls off the main OPD/IPD buildings towards the small parks, parking spaces, the residential areas – perhaps for the first time in my life. I never knew the SKIMS beyond the main giant structure.

The State Cancer Centre at SKIMS in Srinagar. KL Image: Masood Hussain

What shocked me everywhere is that it is stuffed with filth, used medicines, wrappers, food material, dirt, and whatever is thrown away. These small parks are the sole of the people who accompany the patients. I am nobody to link it with the Covid-19 but the virus; I am told is Majnoon to the dirt Laila.

The Srinagar Municipal Corporation must obviously be under stress. But there is a possibility that they could make cleansing of the SKIMS, SMHS, CDH, JLNMH and JVC a quick priority. I think if the hospitals require they can put an appeal and people will happily come to manage part of this load. They have always been doing this and they are hardly made a distinction between the private and public when it comes to life.

At the conclusion let me have my prayers for the doctors and their subordinates within and outside the SKIMS who have been infected by the contagion. I am told the number is good but I do not have credible information about how many. Let them recover faster and let us live again.


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