JAMMU: A doctors’ clinic at a small chemists’ shop attracts more patients than a ‘full-fledged’ Primary Health Cenrtre, run by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, despite running in close vicinity of each other. Just four kilometers away from the premier Super Specialty and Government Medical College Hospital in the winter capital, a Primary Health Centre, housed in a shabbily kept government building, speaks volumes about unhealthy status of the J&K Health Department. The PHCs in the Greater Jammu call for revisiting the entire gambit of health institutions in highly urbanised areas.
Years ago, setting up of a Primary Health Centre at Gole Gujral, 3 kilometers away from Jewel Chowk and 4 kilometers from Super Specialty Hospital would have a different meaning which it does not enjoy now because of the fast expansion of the capital city. Though the grandeur of the city has changed yet the mind-set of administrators remains one-track. With fast expansion and modernization of the city, the PHC Gole-Gujaral had all the potential of being converted into a modern hospital for catering to the need of over a lakh population in the periphery. But the scenario is different. Posted with three Medical Officers, one ISM doctor, two dentists and a whole lot of para-medics, the PHC is seldom visited by the ailing public. Reason; lack of diagnostic equipment and medicines. The one dental chair set up in the PHC, as also the dentists, remain under-utilized for want of scalers , gelatin and limited filling material. A Dental Surgeon confessed that they were catering to the needs of only a few patients while others are being referred to Indira Gandhi Dental College.
STATE TIMES correspondent found just two to three patients in the OPD, with one of the residents in close vicinity commenting, “Who will go to this Hospital, which lacks basics of even a private physicians clinic”. Having pathological lab, the PHC does not attract the patients thereby defeating the purpose of its existence.
Worst is the scenario at Primary Health Centre at Bhour Camp. Having a population of over 4,000 in nearby areas, the facility lacks the wherewithal and other equipment.The Centre has on its staff two Medical Officers and a Dentist but there is no dental chair. Lack of medicines is yet another infirmity that forces the patients to look for other facilities.
The pathetic condition of the PHC can be gauged from the fact that it procures power supply by hanging a hook on the running wire. “We have taken up the matter with all concerned for having a separate feeder for the PHC”, said a Medical Officer. Drawing electricity by a hook remains unanswered. Lack of a dedicated feeder has rendered the PHC Vulnerable to normal power cuts and curtailment schedule. The new building for the PHC was inaugurated last summer by a minister of the previous government.
In the immediate periphery-just one kilometer away-is another PHC with two Medical Officers and a Dentist. This is called new PHC which is the upgraded version of the Allopathic Dispensary. It continues to be lodged in a rental building, comprising two rooms for such a huge staff. Some insiders told STATE TIMES that the new building is far away, which is inconvenient for the staffer coming from the nearby areas. The PHC is lacking the facility of a dental chair, medicines and other equipment.
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