There are four major hospitals in Srinagar which, already crowded with the patients, have to suffer because of unnecessary flow from districts hospital of Kashmir. Majority of the patients who end up in Srinagar hospitals could be treated in district hospitals if doctors pay proper attention.
In many districts of Kashmir government has constructed new hospital buildings but for unknown reason they have been dysfunctional. The primary health infrastructure is appalling and crumbling. Take the case of Medical ventilators. For the population of seven million people in Kashmir there are only 40 ventilators available. A ventilator is a machine that supports breathing in short periods, such as during surgery.
The number of ventilators available in hospitals in valley tells you how much our health infrastructure has improved. Adding to the injury is government’s apathy towards the issue. It would be safe to say even after spending billions of rupees on upgrading the state’s healthcare infrastructure, the state government has miserably failed to ensure proper medical care for which huge money has been sanctioned over the decades. Unfortunately since the conflict in Kashmir erupted everything which the state can’t do, it blames the turmoil for it. Conflict can’t be used as a tool to overlook incompetence of policy makers.
There is no doubt that government has constructed new buildings for hospitals and sub centers but they have failed to live up to the expectations of common masses. Because majority of the buildings are either waiting for the official inauguration or the heads have not received their ‘cut’.
Visit any hospital in Srinagar and you would feel that you have come to a sub Saharan country. We are worst even than hospitals of Liberia and Burkina Faso. In absence of the proper medical care and infrastructure provide by the government, people in valley – who can afford it – prefer to use the private medical facilities. The unlimited growth in private medical infrastructure is the direct failing of the sate healthcare facilities available.
On the other hand, India’s medical tourism is booming. The central government has improved much in the area. The rural primary public health infrastructure has increased many folds and now India has around 145,000 Sub-health Centres, over 23,000 Primary Health Centres and around 4000 Community Health Centres, each catering to a population of 5,000, 30,000 and 1,00,000 respectively.
However, only about 20 percent of healthcare services are being provided by public sector, with the remaining being provided by the private sector. Apart from making rhetorical noise about the upgradation of the medical infrastructure the government should equip hospitals with modern facilities so that hospitals won’t smell like garbage dumps and proper attention is paid to the needy.