Srinagar: The Central Government has announced plans to raise the level of funding for the health sector in Jammu and Kashmir in cooperation and coordination with the state government, keeping in mind the objective of providing state-of-the-art medical services and facilities to people living in the remotest and smallest towns of the state, according to the state’s Health Minister, Mr Bali Bhagat.
Efforts are on said the minister to ensure that the quality of healthcare becomes better not only in primary, but also in all secondary and tertiary hospitals, and the main mandate of the health department in the state is to ensure that every person has access to quality, equitable and affordable healthcare, whether it is in an urban or a rural area.
That priority is being given to the healthcare sector in Jammu and Kashmir can be gauged by the fact that earlier this week, the state government confirmed that the Centre has approved the setting up of two All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the region.
Bhagat said that one of the AIIMS would come up in Awantipora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, while the second would come up in Jammu region’s Samba district. He said a sum of Rs.4, 000 crores has been earmarked for this purpose under the Prime Minister’s reconstruction package for the state.
Since both projects are to be set up in the state by the Centre, Bhagat said the budgetary details would be advised and provided by the Union government.
Once this AIIMS is completed in Awantipora in the Kashmir Valley, the patients who earlier used to go outside the state for medical treatment will have access to healthcare benefits in the state itself.
The quality of paramedics and medical staff is far superior to what exists in any other country in South Asia, including Pakistan said state government officials.
In Pakistan, particularly in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan, the crumbling socio-economic infrastructure prevents its people from even having access to basic healthcare. A serious illness and the prohibitive medical cost of treatment destroy households in this region. It is not far from the truth to say that the public healthcare system in PoK is in shambles, and people there have little or no means of accessing treatment.
Dr. Chandra Prakash, Chief Medical Officer (Health) for Udhampur, told ANI recently, “All hospitals in this district have been upgraded and one of our hospitals has even received the Kayakalp Award for providing state-of-the-art medical services. There are so many public health centers (PHC) now such as the PHC Goldie, the PHC Mada and the PHC Mongri.
“Mobile heath vans are on the move in the district to provide medical services at the doorstep of your homes,” he added.
Om Prakash, a local resident, said, “The medical facilities in Udhampur are now very good. The hospitals and public health centers are clean.”
“The coming up of PHCs in remote areas of the state is of great benefit to the people. Now, they don’t have to travel long distances to get access to healthcare,” added Jagdish Bharadwaj, a patient being treated at a hospital in Udhampur.
Vikram, another local resident, said, “A to Z facilities is available here. Both the Central and State governments are providing very good medical facilities in Udhampur district. We now have much needed access to intensive care units (ICUs), physiotherapy clinics, blood banks, hi-tech laboratories, x-ray and CT Scan units etc.”
“The doctors are well trained and are available 24×7, which is a far better than what we had before. Earlier, due to a lack of a facilities, patients ended up being the worst sufferers, but now, our medical wards are well maintained, pollution free and hygienic, thanks to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and other such schemes.
In Rajouri district’s Darhal village, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda recently laid the foundation stone of a proposed Rs.190 crore hospital. This medical facility, which is to come up on 120 canals of land, is a big relief for the people of this remote area, as now, they will not have to travel all the way to Jammu, the state’s winter capital, for medical treatment. This hospital is also expected to benefit the residents of neighbouring Poonch district.