Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Beyond Comprehension - The Dismal State of Hospital Care in Kashmir

The only elevator in Srinagar's Bone and Joint (B&J) Hospital has not worked for 26 years!

B&J hospital has only one stretcher, lift defunct for 26 years
Shariq Mohammad (Daily Etalaat)

Srinagar: In the Government Hospital for Bone and Joint Surgery at Barzulla here, it is a common sight to find attendants carrying patients with compound fractures and plastered legs and arms on their shoulders because there are not enough stretchers or wheelchairs.

“I found there is only one stretcher in this ward. I haven’t seen a wheelchair so far,” Ghulam Mohammad, an attendant of a patient in the emergency ward told this newspaper.

A doctor wishing anonymity said if a patient with fracture in the leg has to limp for around 200 yards for an X-ray there are chances that his injury would get worse.

"My son carried me on his back from the emergency ward to the X-ray room,” an old man said. His son, Abdul Ahad, said he had requested a nurse for a stretcher, but “she said I would have to wait” because the attendants of some other patient had taken the only stretcher available in the emergency ward."

“It was torturous because I apprehended my father’s condition would go worse if he fell; you know it is so unwieldy to carry a person on your back particularly when he is injured,” Ahad said.

The inconvenience caused to the patients is further complicated by the defunct elevator. According to the Medical Superintendent Dr Muhammad Ramzan Mir, the elevator is defunct for the past 26 years. He said the hospital authorities have had requested the government for funds to repair it. Dr Mir, however, said there was sufficient stock of stretchers.

When contacted, Principal Government Medical College, Dr Mushtaq Shah sounded confused over the issue. “Either I’ve released funds for the elevator at B&J Hospital or I’m in the process of releasing them,” he said. Dr Shah admitted that the elevator was lying defunct for the past 26 years.

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