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.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Hall of Shame

An editorial in the Greater Kashmir discusses the depths to which the society has sunk

Fake Drugs

It is just the tip of an iceberg. A seven day old baby died in G.B. Pant Children Hospital because of negligence of medicos. The reports suggested that he was injected an expired medicine. A report in this newspaper about wrong medication of the child in the hospital did prompt instituting of an inquiry by the government. The death of infant in the children hospital is not the first of its kind. Such deaths are nothing unusual in most of the government hospitals. And majority of these go unreported.

It is not only the government hospitals that are in a shamble, the situation in some of the private nursing homes for lack of supervision by the government is no different. Many private hospitals and nursing homes have been charging exorbitantly from the patients without providing proper health care. These hospitals and nursing homes have become money minting machines for the owners and state salaried doctors working part time in these hospitals. These people for lack of effective control by the state health department have been fattening at the expense of patients. It would be worth reiterating that India is the largest counterfeit and spurious drug manufacturing country in the world. It produces spurious drugs worth Rs.15000 Crore.

The statistics made available by the international organization like WHO indicate that thirty five percent of the world’s spurious drugs are produced in India. A report by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has not been different. And Kashmir is largest consumer of these substandard medicine. Such medicine are sold in full gaze of health department and within the knowledge of many medicos. Some druggists have been complaining that most of the spurious drugs are dispensed by doctors from unlicensed shops within their clinics or inside the nursing homes. It is not a top secret that these companies have been paying heavily to doctors in the shape of gifts and trips outside the state and country. It is within the knowledge of authorities within the state that most of the fake drug manufacturing companies are based in Punjab, Haryana and U.P and Jammu and Kashmir for lack of an effective drug control and proximity to these states has been consumer of major portions of drugs and medicines manufactured in these states. The state health department is in know that about seventy therapeutic categories covering medication to treat diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, multivitamins preparations and other common ailments are spurious.

If a proper study is done about the impact of spurious medicine on the people of the state the results would be alarming and disturbing. It is also no secret that largest buyer of substandard medicines is the state health department. It is in the knowledge of the state vigilance organizations that the purchases of medicine, drugs, herbs and other materials for government run hospitals and health centers both allopathic and Indian System of medicines is done quickly towards the end of the financial year with malicious designs. Many times without adopting laid down procedures and formalities. The state vigilance commission did conduct raids in the past but failed to bring the culprits to the book. If vigilance organization had played an effective role perhaps the life of the infant who died in children hospital would have been saved. It has been for lack of effective supervision, monitoring and direction and coordination amongst various organizations connected with the health of common people that the health department is suffering.

There is an elaborate an organization armed to teeth with powers for preventing marketing, distributing and dispensing of fake drugs, but it has been sleeping on this grave issue. There is a need to be accountable. Here is a case in point that cries for justice. For what sin, after all, an infant had to die.

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