By Anzer Ayoob
Bhaderwah, 11 Aug: In a protest against the worst healthcare system in the Chenab region of Jammu and Kashmir, Owais Choudhary, a social activist from Bhaderwah in Doda district, started “Paidal Yatra” (Journey By Foot) from Bhaderwah towan to the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Doda on Thursday.
Several other social activists and locals joined him in the morning, and they started the “Paidal Yatra” around 7 am today. This is more than a 35-kilometer long journey by foot in protest against the bad healthcare system in the region.
Choudhary said that this decision was taken after a child died, allegedly due to a lack of proper healthcare facilities in Sub District Hospital Bhaderwah.
“Negligence of administration in the healthcare system cost the life of a child who survived just 2 hours after delivery, as the patient was referred from SDH Bhaderwah after the delivery of the child,” he added.
He further said that the SDH Bhaderwah had the capability of a good hospital but it became a “referral” hospital due to the unaccountability of the authorities.
“Be it Bhaderwah Hospital or any hospital in the Chenab region’s rural areas, there is a tradition of referring patients to government medical colleges and it is not the fault of the staff who refer them, it is actually the system which is not checked properly,” Chaudhary explains.
He continued, “There is a shortage of staff. Whenever we question the authorities, they make excuses only and every time we get fake assurances that doctors will come regularly.”
Many locals supported this protest and expressed concerns over the healthcare system, which is defunct in every corner of the region.
A local from Thathri town in Doda district, Tahir Bilal, said, “Whenever we go to the hospital for just a simple stomach pain, we get a referral for GMC.”
“Why don’t we get diagnosed here when we have infrastructure?” Why is no one taking responsibility for making a stable hospital? “he asked.
While Burhan Dar, another local from Kishtwar district said, “Despite of having some facilities in our district Hospital, patients have to take private facilities like USG.”
Dar termed the District Hospital Kishtwar as “Traditional referral hospital” and said, “Our hospital is lacking important facilities as recently when CT Scan machine had technical issues, it was repaired after six months when we did number of protests.”