Ramnagar/Udhampur: Maintaining that the ongoing Corona pandemic had exposed the utter inadequacy and fragility of the healthcare system of Jammu region in particular, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh Chairman-JKNPP and former Minister has expressed grave concern over the ever increasing number of deaths being reported from this part of the UT. While successive state govts have been responsible for the highly prejudicial treatment doled out to Jammu region in the matter of people’s health and safety, the present dispensation too could not escape the responsibility of carrying forward the legacy of its predecessors. It was infact more to blame in view of the biased treatment of Jammu having been extended in recent times of crises to matters pertaining to even life and death. He said the apportionment of essential life saving drugs and equipments, medicines, vaccines, oxygen plants, ventilators etc in H&ME sector among the two regions had revealed a lion’s share going the Kashmir way with a mere sprinkling falling in the kitty of the incarcerated dogra land. Asserting that the lives of Jammu people were also as precious as those of Kashmiries, Mr. Singh called for striking a balance between the two regions in so for the provision of healthcare facilities were concerned. He was on tour of Ramnagar constituency to assess the problems being faced by the rural masses during the Corona pandemic. He distributed ration and other essential items of day to day use among the poor people of the constituency.
Emphasising on the need to strengthen and upgrade the health infrastructure in Jammu region, Mr. Singh rued that almost all major and prominent hospitals had been established in Kashmir. While there were ten Associated hospitals in Srinagar including GMC, there were only five such hospitals in Jammu to cater to a vast population inhabiting the peripheries. AIIMS Jammu was govt sanctioned for Jammu only after a mass agitation by its people which too has failed to register any substantial progress in its construction for the last five years. And while Kashmir already had an AIIMS like institute in SKIMS Soura, another AIIMS was offered to Kashmir on a platter by the BJP regime”, divulged Mr. Singh.
“While Kashmir continues to get preferential treatment in provision of healthcare facilities even in present times, the ailing health system of Jammu continues to be ignored even in terms of basic faculty. The Govt has exercised due care to ensure that vacant posts in Srinagar hospitals were timely filled up, the Jammu based hospitals continue to suffer from staff shortage with around 88 posts out of 387 still lying vacant as per feedback given by hospital functionaries. Similarly in GMC Jammu and its associated hospitals there are only 122 beds in the ICU wards. But in Kashmir the number exceeds 300 in GMC and its associated hospitals. While the ventilators purchased during the previous year were operationalized in Kashmir, those meant for Jammu mostly remained non-functional reportedly due to lack of technical and trained staff. And while Jammu continued to be neglected in provision of a much deserved and better health care, it is now being discriminated even in vaccination supplies, regretted Mr. Singh.
Calling for equitable treatment to both regions in the matter of healthcare, Mr. Singh sought immediate supply of vaccine doses for 18-44 age group in Jammu region as well. He called for up-gradation of rural health infrastructure and making up of staff deficiency in Health centres of remote areas on war footing.