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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Harvesting Misery - 2

Basharat comments on the Zargar Report dealing with the G B Pant Hospital tragedy

(Mr. Syed Basharat, 31, was born in Kreeri, Baramulla, and did his schooling in Kreeri, and later in Uri and Sopore. He graduated from the Degree College in Baramulla and completed his Master's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the Kashmir University in 2005. He has been a reporter for Kashmir Images, a Srinagar based daily, London based website Gaashonline.Com, and a Srinagar based journal, Globe. Currently, he is working as a special correspondent with Jammu based daily newspaper, The Kashmir Times.)

G B Pant Hospital Horror

Srinagar: The government constituted one-man commission of inquiry led by Dr Showkat Ali Zargar; director Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) today submitted his final report on the mounting infants’ deaths in G B Pant hospital.

Sources revealed that Dr Zargar handed over a sealed report to M K Divedi in presence of the House Committee that met here today. The director SKIMS, has also briefed the House Committee, on the main findings of the final report. Later the House Committee chaired by MLA Handwara, Choudry Muhammad Ramzan, concluded that the Committee will go through the report and discuss it on July 24.

Dr Showkat Zargar, when contacted said: “Yes I have submitted the final report to the government but sorry I cannot comment on its details.”

Informed sources revealed that the report will go the chief minister Omar Abdullah who had constituted the one man commission of inquiry and R S Chib, minister for medical education.

Sources said that Dr Zargar while highlighting the main findings of his report before the House Committee said records pertaining to admission and infant mortalities have not been maintained properly in G B Pant hospital. “He said that out of some 6000 admission he found only 3000 cases. And the mortality rate is high than the figures shown on hospital records,” informed sources disclosed.

During the meeting today some of the members of House Committee have said that a specific doctor should not be targeted for the high rate of infant deaths and the role of other doctors responsible for the worsening situation of the hospital be fixed, official sources said. However, the chairman of the committee while disagreeing to the assertions made by some of the members of the Committee stressed for a threadbare discussion on the report.

Ramzan has also said that any conclusions would be drawn only after the Committee goes through pros and cons of the Dr Zargar’s final report on July 24.

Pertinently, Kashmir Times had exclusively carried detailed news about the preliminary report submitted by Dr Zargar in its June 6, 2012 issue.

Informed sources revealed Dr Zargar’s final report is almost repetition of his preliminary report with some elaborated recommendations to improve the healthcare at G B Pant hospital.

The preliminary report of Dr Zargar had said mortality rate in G B Pant hospital has exceeded 20 per cent and the figures put forth by the hospital authorities were unreliable.

It (report) had also indicted Dr Javed Choudry, the former Medical Superintendent cum Head of the Department G B Pant hospital (presently attached) responsible for the crisis in the hospital. “Keeping into consideration above observations, I am of the considered view that Medical Superintendent-cum-Head of the Department of Pediatrics is responsible for the present crisis,” the preliminary report had said.

Giving reasons for high mortality in NICU of G B Pant hospital, Dr Zargar had said he was shocked to see almost negligible presence of doctors in NICU when the hospital is well armed with ‘adequate doctors and staff’ needed for 135 bedded hospital.

Dr Zargar had revealed that former Head of The Department Dr Javed Choudry has never held a meeting with faculty to discuss the problems of the hospital. “It only shows callous attitude of HOD towards hospital affairs. Even no meeting ahs been held during this turmoil [since the issue of high infant mortality came in media] until on May 17, when I assembled the whole faculty for the first time.”

The one-man commission has blamed administrative failure for the high infant mortality at G B Pant hospital. “I understand the administrative mismanagement is the reason for mess of NICU. The situation cannot improve unless rationale deployment of doctors, nursing and para medical staff is ensured. Attendant traffic is totally eliminated and sanitation is given top priority. Nursing has to be reinforced immediately.”

Dissuading the general notion of infrastructure deficiency being a reason for high infant mortality at G B Pant hospital, Dr Zargar had said: “There are five ventilators; more than 40 warmers and adequate number of monitors and phototherapy units. Adding 3 or 4 more ventilators to the fleet of already existing 5 ventilators is not going to change mortality significantly unless the security, sanitation and rational deployment of staff is ensured completely and immediately. There is total apathy and mismanagement but the hospital administration.”

The preliminary report had said the surroundings of the NICU are dirty beyond description because people were eating freely and chatting. “….I blame the HOD and the faculty for poor management of NICU. I understand the quality of drugs including antibiotics are not from standard reputed companies.”

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