The idea was a great one, New Type of Primary Health Center (NTPHC)!
But with no doctors, no facility, no medicines then what is new in the health center. It is the same old moth eaten one!
By: M S Nazki
Of late I have been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be helpful to the poor. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing. But still we all make it to some sort of position where we can help those who are dependent upon us. Health care has been an Achilles heel in District Poonch and it has been for quite some time now, in fact years together. The militancy played havoc but now when things have calmed down for the last decade or but the things are still languishing. Last year a blizzard in form of the virus took us sweeping away right behind the locks of our houses. There was no option but now it has come with such a lethal ferocity that it has blown away the myth nationwide that the health care system was perfectly in harmony. No one ever expected such a phenomenon but the scientists had anticipated it. In the districts in the interiors of the Union Territory the impact of the second wave is under control but in districts like Jammu, Srinagar and Baramulla the cases continue to rise and thus we are under a lockdown.
Now another piece of bad news is that the virus is driving into the remote villages and those are not good signs at all. Thus it is imperative that the health care facilities are absolutely loaded with the requisite ammunition to cater for the needs of the poor since they are the ones who are at the receiving end at the moment. The poor and the under privileged in Mandi do at times say, ‘do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! I have as much soul as you, and full as much heart! We too deserve the facilities that have been earmarked for us. At the moment it is not so the case. There are plenty of reasons behind this sulk and brood:
- Residents of village Bedar-Balnoi Mandi block of Poonch District complained that the New Type Primary Health Center (NTPHC) is without doctors and necessary medicines, causing inconvenience to locals.
- The name is great NTPHC but the doctors are still the old veterans who want to be a better places rather than cong here to treat the patients.
- In other words they are simply not bothered? So the downtrodden have to be on a limbo which in actuality they are wholesomely..
*The locals vociferously mentioned that the health center was upgraded by the authorities several years ago and so far they have failed to send a doctor or necessary medicines to the health center, causing inconvenience to people.
- If the idea was not to start the health care unit then why was it upgraded. If it had been decided that let it be as it is but just rechristen the name then it means cheating the people on the name of health care. This hospital in District Poonch is an epitome of that.
*As per the locals, the health center has only two paramedical staff, who can’t treat all the patients. In any case how can they? It is the job of the doctors who draw out salaries and their job is to look into the patients. This practice was never followed in these areas. It is time to recheck the modus operandi of functioning of doctors in remote areas.
- Social Activist Tanveer Tantray , told me that after the up-grading the health center they were expecting the centre to have good facilities proper staff etc. However, only the board of the health center was changed and the rest remains the same. What should we call this eye wash and taking the poor for a ride big time. The locals do say that we are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without. But it seems that these doctors are the most unsatisfied lot. There are many who do say, when I give food to the poor, they call us saints. Similarly a visit by the doctors to this place will be great and trust me he/she will never return empty handed. A bundle of thanks and blessings are much bigger than all the money earned!
The struggle to get a doctor posted in here did not end as Tantray led a protest about two years back and FIR’s were slammed against them. Charges could be any but the fact is that we’re protesting for health care in the area, I do not think that is a crime. But the main problem still remains the same. Still there is no doctor and the medicines are insufficient!
*Sarpanch of the Panchayat Bedar, Rafiq Madni said it has been more than six years since the health center was upgraded, but the facilities at the centre remain the same and nothing has been changed. It looks that nothing would ever. This is the level of despondency that has set in.
- It has come to the notice that two years back, the doctor was assigned here three days a week, but he has not been here for a year. As a result, people are disturbed and thus go to sub district hospitals and private clinics. Even there no one examines them properly.
- The reason is the devastating COVID-19 second wave. Everyone wants to be safe but by the look of things it’s only we who are on the edge.
*The Sarpanch further said that only two paramedics of the department are present here who are running this NTPHC, we also brought this matter in the notice of District Development Commissioner Poonch and he asked CMO to act on it fast, but the CMO did not pay much attention to it.
- That was sheer arrogance because a Chief Medical Officer was not bothered about the instructions from the top! Incidentally this is not an uncommon thing in District Poonch. Orders of senior officers in administration are defied in a game of one upmanship where the poor and the needy suffer no end.
- An employee of the health center told me that she has been working at the centre for last 11 years and said the centre lacks men and machinery, We only have a few medicines available at the center which we make available to the people. The poor girl seemed helpless but in any case what is in her hands. She will give what she has in cupboards. If the medicine bottles are empty with no tablets inside from where and how would she follow the prescription! It’s bad in fact really bad!
- Once again Tanver Tantray and Rafiq Madni District requested the Development Commissioner Inderjeet Singh (KAS) and Higher officials of the Health department to depute a doctor and provide basic medicines at the hospital so that people of the area do not suffer.
- In fact they were pleading. When Block Medical Officer Mandi, Dr.Nusrat Bhattwas contacted she told that the posted doctor Sakinder has been sent for Ultrasound Training stint and Dr. Roochi has been attached in his place. She further said that this case would be looked into. So the ball is in the court of the lady doctor Roochi and I hope she would understand the predicament of the people here and give whatever time she can give to these lesser mortals.
- There are ladies and children also who line up here but have to go back with a heavy heart because without treatment. That is absurd.
- Dr. Nausrat without mincing her words said that serious action would be taken and the fiasco would be investigated and was full of assurance that people’s worries would be resolved soon. Indeed she looked confident! The authorities should realize that there is no them. These people are only facets of us and finally the test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. And these people have nothing as far as Health Care goes.