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.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Only in Kashmir

Only in Kashmir, does one find stray dogs around a hospital outnumbering the hospital staff and patients

Patients Resent Lack of Facilities in City Hospitals

Mansoor ul Hassan

Srinagar: Patients admitted in various hospitals here had to face a tough time today due to non-availability of doctors and improper facilities.

Few inches of snowfall today affected the functioning of all the major hospitals including SMHS, Lal Ded and GB Panth here causing immense inconvenience to the patients and their attendants.

At SMHS hospital people staged protests this afternoon against the non-availability of ambulances. The protest erupted after a family from Shopian was allegedly denied ambulance to ferry body of a woman.

“My mother died this afternoon and I approached the medical superintendent of the hospital for providing me the ambulance to ferry her body to back home. But he refused to provide me the service saying that ambulance can’t be send to such a long distance,” Muhammad Amin, son of the deceased woman told Greater Kashmir.

Amin said he had to wait amidst snowfall with the body for three hours till his relatives reached there with a vehicle.

Meanwhile, attendants of patients in the hospitals alleged that the doctors were not present there during evening hours.

Source said in Valley’s lone maternity hospital Lal Ded, the shortage of paramedical staff and doctors had delayed discharge of 20 patients from the hospital.

Muhammad Latief of Islamabad alleged that his wife was supposed to be discharged few days ago. “I have been searching for the concerned doctor but couldn’t find him,” he said.

The attendants, who accompanied their children to GB Pant hospital, alleged that no doctor had visited wards during evening hours.

“After 12 noon, all doctors disappear from the wards. In case any complication occurs or our kids need consultation, we have to carry them to the casualty section,” alleged Mushtaq Ahmad of Pattan, who son is undergoing treatment in the hospital.

Chaos and confusion was witnessed in the corridors of GB Panth hospital as the attendants had occupied it complete in absence of a separate space.

Although, the attendants in most of the hospitals expressed satisfaction over the heating system and electricity supply but the inadequate water supply is giving tough time to them from last few days.

Istiyaq Hassan of Pattan alleged the wards received inadequate water supply causing problems to the patients. The unhygienic condition in bathrooms and wards has aggravated the patients problems. During on-the-spot assessment different wards and rooms of GB Panth, this reporter found huge cockroach population present in its wards.

“There is every chance that infants are at risk of infection or swallowing them by chance,” Haleema, an attendant from Pohru Nowgam said.

At SMHS hospital the situation was no different. A good number of rats could be seen moving in the wards. “Is this hospital for humans or animals?” Gowhar Muzaffar of Hawal questioned.

“If we count dogs and rats in and around hospital complex, they will outnumber human population,” he added.

When contacted the Medical Superintendents of SMHS and LD hospitals refused to comment on the issues. “We cannot talk on the issue as we are not at the helm of affairs,” they said.

Only Medical Superintendent of GB Pant hospital Dr Kaiser gave his version about the problems in the hospital.

“Absence of attendants shed is the biggest hurdle in the process of accommodating good number of attendants coming to the hospital. We have already sent a request to the higher ups for the construction of the attendant shed to relieve pressure from the hospital,” he said.

On the absence of doctors during evening hours he said: “In emergency wards, the doctors remain available round the clock. In cold wards the doctors make rounds twice a day. In case of emergency the attendants can immediately contact causality department.”

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