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.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gross Deficiencies in Healthcare in Kashmir

Sarosh succinctly highlights urgent needs in the healthcare in Kashmir in an editorial in the Physicians Academy June 2011 edition

(Dr. Sarosh Ahmed Khan, MD, 48, was born in Srinagar. He pursued his initial schooling from the Victoria High School in Bombay (now called Mumbai), and matriculated from the New Era Public School in Srinagar. He completed his pre-medical college degree from the Sri Pratap College, Srinagar, and received his medical degrees (MBBS, MD) from the Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar. He is a senior consulting physician st the Modern Hospital in Rajbagh, Srinagar. Dr. Khan is the editor-in-chief of the Physicians Academy, an online medical journal, and the Vice President of the Kashmir Academy of Private Physicians. He is actively involved with the "Chotay Taray" Foundation dedicated to educating mentally and physically challenging children. Dr. Khan in his leisure time enjoys cricket, internet and music.)

Need to Improve Healthcare in Kashmir

Healthcare in Kashmir has not been in a healthy state for a long time now. The
expectations of the common man have not been met. Suggestions by doctors in general
and recommendations by expert committees in particular have gone waste. But we have
not lost hope. The tourists are visiting Kashmir in millions every year and we have to have excellent healthcare services to offer. If this helps the government to understand the problem, so be it! We are here presenting some of the long term measures which would transform healthcare in Kashmir.

The need for maternity hospital in all districts of Kashmir:

The need of the hour and a need for years to come is an “Lal Ded (LD) hospital” in all districts of Kashmir. There are innumerable examples of precious lives lost during and after delivery. The patient load in LD Hospital of Srinagar is bound to become less if this happens. More importantly patient care will drastically improve.

The need for a Pediatric Hospital in all districts of Kashmir:

Needlessly to say we do not have a children’s hospital here in Kashmir. The one in GB
Pant hospital is as bad as a jail (it was indeed used by the military for their own
purposes and even today belongs to them). There is no ventilation there and on an
average 7-8 deaths occur on a daily basis in this hospital. Most of these deaths are
preventable in a place like Delhi or Mumbai.

The need for a Trauma Center in Srinagar and on the National highway:

Road traffic accidents have become very common in Kashmir. Violence otherwise too has
consumed thousands of precious lives here in the valley. Unfortunately there has been
no plan in the last two decades to start a full fledged Trauma Hospital here. It would indeed be needed more in the future considering the number of vehicles on the roads and the increasing number of accidents that take place daily.

The need for Ambulances for catering to Emergencies:

If we want to move ahead in development of healthcare, then a state-of-the-art
ambulance service has to be thought of and started as soon as possible. It should be just a call away and should be able to provide emergency care including BLS and ALS. There are lots of young doctors who are jobless and they would be more than ready to work.

The need to prevent sale of spurious medicines:

Kashmir has become a haven for companies producing spurious medicines. There is no
check on this menace and the patients suffer. Screening the medicines which enter
Kashmir is a must and the government has to act fast and on a long term basis.

The need to prevent unlicensed practitioners from practicing medicine:

After compounders, RMPs, Unanis and Ayurveds, now even the acupuncturists have the
guts to prescribe allopathic medicines. No one from the government (the officials of the Health Department, the Municipal Committee and the higher administration) seems to have any idea what is happening in the open. All this is to be stopped if we have to improve healthcare in Kashmir.

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