Bandipora, Sept 28: The Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Chuntimulla, a remote belt of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district is running without a doctor and pharmacist for the last five months, thus leaving the local residents to lurch at large.
Due to the lack of doctors and pharmacists, around 20,000 people of seven villages falling under five panchayats are deprived of health care facilities.
“Patients visiting this health centre are not getting treatment due to unavailability of both doctors as well as the pharmacist. Poor patients who visit this centre bear the brunt as they have no money to go to a private hospital or nursing home for treatment,” Habli Begum (65), a resident said..
Habli was injured due to an electric shock at her home a few days ago at Chuntimulla following which she went to the health center, only to find absence of the doctors there, which forced her to visit a local Army camp for treatment.
Similarly, Zahoor Ahmad, a local resident had taken his ailing wife to the health centre but he also brought his wife back as there was no one available to treat her. He said that he was also forced to take his wife to a local military camp for treatment.
Locals said that no doctor has been deputed at the health centre for the past five months, thus leaving them to lurch at large. “Those who sustain even minor injuries are also being forced to travel at least 15 km for basic treatment at Bandipora hospital,” they said.
They said all the doctors have been withdrawn from here since the outbreak of COVID-19. “No doctor has been posted here by the administration since then due to which people are suffering here,” they added. The local also said that they have repeatedly raised the problem with the district health authorities, but to no avail.
A lone Ambulance driver at the health center said about 20 patients visit the health centre almost every day but are being forced to visit other places for treatment due to absence of doctor.
Not only doctors, but a number of posts including pharmacist, lab technician, female staff and others are also lying vacant in the health centre.
Despite repeated attempts Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Bandipora, Bashir Ahmad could not be contacted for the comments as he didn’t receive the phone calls.
However, an official in the health department said that a medical officer has already been deputed at the health centre, who has not joined his duties yet. “We have written to him several times, but there was no response from him,” he said.
Asked about other staff, he said most of the health workers are at present on COVID duty, saying that they will soon be re-assigned to their respective duties—(KNO)