Primary Health Center Sangla, Surankote!
If you want to see a mockery of health care then this is the place you should be in to check out the facts!
By: M S Nazki
It was the second wave of the Covid-19 that ripped apart the Health care system of the Nation and brought out the reality as to where exactly we stood thus clear by indicating that health care was never a priority before this tragedy. Had it been made one India would have been much healthier and not struggling as we are now. In District Poonch healthcare was never taken seriously especially so in the remote areas where at least a proper type Primary Health center should have been existing. No doubt the Chief Medical Officer will say that they do very well exist but if asked about the conditions prevailing trust me he is going to pull a long face for sure! Hopefully after this sucker punch by Covid-19 in the second wave things would drastically improve and the health care in the rural areas would not be taken lightly. Honestly speaking till now it was being all the way.
Today let me tell you the condition of Primary Health Center Sangla, Surankote. To start with the place is great, in the remote hills, environment wise fabulous and has all the freshness about it. The people are strong and sturdy going about the routine work as everyone does but that does not mean that they do not get sick. Like any other mortal they too at times feel uneasy but where to head next in case they do is their predicament which has remained unresolved. The army initiated medical camps are there but it is up to the UT health authorities to check into this important affair. There are several problems here which need to be sorted out in fact eradicated for the benefit of the people. By no means a Primary Health Center can function in one room taken by the Government on rent (as of now Rs. 900/-) since God knows how many years. Any sane man would say the patients cannot be treated here and that everyone in the officialdom of Health in District Poonch knows that but the action well ‘we will see to it’ sort of syndrome prevails. The problems are as follows:
- The Primary Health Center has several lacunas thus it cannot cater to the public health crisis and faces severe shortage of resources.
- As per the residents of Sangla inadequate health services are due to lack of accommodation and basic supplies of medicines. The manpower is there but what is the use of it when they can do nothing and in any case in one room PHC nothing much can be done.
- Covid-19 pandemic is a wake-up call for India’s health system. India’s public health-care system is chronically underfunded, leaving big gaps in the primary healthcare delivery. If that is the situation countrywide then in a place such as Sangla pathetic is an appropriate word, I think.
- A PHC in Covid-19 has plenty of jobs to do including testing, early detection of cases and various preventive measures and they are being carried out by Primary Health Centre (PHC)-level staff, despite often being overburdened due to inadequate staffing in many states. But here the strength is there but no resources.
- There is shortage of equipment, shortage of skilled work force medical and para-medical staff. The medical and para medical staff includes doctors, nurses, mid-wives, auxiliary nursing midwives, ASHAs and Anganwadi workers. But here nothing of an organized work fore structure is there which is an absolute necessity.
- Let us face it, the quality of our rural infrastructure is poor, and our priority needs to be focused on the improvement of rural healthcare through government facilities and nursing homes, along with improved manpower, while developing our district level capabilities.
- The Indian Public Health system is a tiered structure, where at the bottom of the pyramid are sub-centers, catering for roughly five villages. PHCs are the first base, acting as referral units typically for six sub-centers. PHCs function as the core, and flow into community health centers (CHCs), followed by sub-district and district hospitals. At the apex are medical colleges and advanced research institutes such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
- Challenges for upgrading primary healthcare in District Poonch include insufficient resources for equipment, medicine and vaccine supplies, deficient workforce, unmanageable caseload, clean toilets, and overall health facility.
- What I want to convey is that money would have to be spent on public health care but here in Sangla the basic thing itself is creaking and that happens to be the accommodation.
II. Accommodation was sanctioned but is lying incomplete!
- This is not something out of the world which I’m trying to tell. In District Poonch it is a common phenomenon.
- Money is sanctioned for various projects but very few get completed. This one in Sangla is just another example.
- The contractor began the job and began making a building classified as special.
- The work started with a lot of enthusiasm and as per the sources money amounting to Rs. 30 Lakhs was spent but still the building is just complete till the slab level and thereafter no progress was made on it.
- It could not have been because no one was interested and thus the money invested at the moment is nothing but an epitome of wastage which again is not uncommon in District Poonch.
What is required is stern action so that the Health care takes top priority because without health care a Nation cannot remain healthy and this was proven adequately by the menacing second wave of the virus which tore through India and brought the health Care system in the Nation to its knees!
A hospital or a health care center stands as a monument to the best of humane humanity. A sick man while seeing a hospital feels that at least now he would be safe. There is a quiet kind of cheerful, the soft kind that comes as a quiet river on a sunny day. It is a way of being that allows others a positive space to open up into, a space that is ready to support their emotions and needs. There is of course a time and place for the loud kind of cheerful, yet here in the hospital it can have the effect of softening up, giving relief and more importantly hope. The sanctity of the patient, their humanity, is what the hospital strives to uphold especially in challenging times like these. In towns and semi towns in the District Poonch, the hospitals are doing a good job but it is the rural areas that have to be checked into since the situation there is a depleted one!