Patients in Kashmir hospitals are pushed to the wall due to improper infrastructure compelling many to move outside for treatment, a group of doctors from Manipal Hospitals, New Delhi, who are on a visit to the Valley said Sunday.
The doctors are on a visit to Kashmir as part of Common Medical Education (CME). They pitched for upgradation in infrastructure to ease the burden on patients forced to travel outside J&K.
Dr Arun Prasad, senior laparoscopic and a robotic surgeon from Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka, New Delhi, who is part of the team, said Kashmir’s healthcare has gaps ranging from infrastructure to poor use of technology.
“Modern technology is lacking. Though laparoscopic technologies are available but a lot needs to be upgraded. There is a problem in acquiring equipment. Before using technology there must be infrastructure in place,” he told Rising Kashmir at Kashmir Clinics, in Batamaloo.
Prasad said the infrastructure in Kashmir hospitals was not in pace with the rest of the country while Kashmir doctors were performing well globally.
“We are dependent on technology. Things have advanced and technology is a must. Robotic surgeries should be introduced here,” he said.
Prasad, who has been doing robotic surgeries since 2012, said people in Kashmir were more conscious about their health than rest of the country.
“The patients, especially in emergency cases, are facing difficulties in travelling. Patients don’t reach hospitals immediately. The world has gone much farther whereas Kashmir has lagged in these areas,” he said.
Pointing at the lack of special hospitals in north and south Kashmir, Pasad said the resources in the Valley were not being utilized efficiently and access to healthcare was a problem.
“There are resources but they are not being utilized,” he said.
Head of Cardiac Sciences, Manipal Hospitals, Dr Yaugal K Mishra said the primary and secondary healthcare services in the Valley had improved over the years.
“If we see the national average, 65 percent of patient care is provided by the private sector but in Kashmir, 95 percent is being provided by the government,” he said.
Mishra, also a chief cardio vascular surgeon, said due to the prevailing situation private players are not investing here which is the biggest problem.
Although the new private hospitals are coming up, as per them, much needs to be done to encourage the private partners to take part in the healthcare services.
The experts opine that though the government emphasizes on the health status of rural areas, major public and private health facilities were largely available in Srinagar.
Dr Shafiq Ahmad, urologist and renal transplant surgeon in Manipal Hospitals, said chronic kidney disease was a major public health problem not only in Kashmir but across India.
Citing United Nations Emergency Funding data, he said approximately 25 percent children in India are born with less than 2.5 kg weight.
“Their (children born with less weight) kidney functions less. These children are at a risk of developing diseases when they become young,” said Ahmad.
He said they do not know the exact number of patients having end stage kidney disease in India.
Citing a survey, Ahmad said 90 percent of the people who require dialysis or kidney transplant in India do not get dialysis because of lack of facilities.
“Only 10 percent of the population in India suffering from kidney disease get either transplant or dialysis. As per a study, 50 percent of kidney disease patients are diagnosed when they are at the last stage,” he said.
Ahmad said not only Kashmir but entire India was facing “brain drain” of doctors to the developed countries as talented doctors were leaving for better earnings and opportunities.
“That is why we have shortage of urologists, nephrologists and lack of skilled technicians who can run dialysis centres across India,” he said.
They also raised eyebrows over mismanagement that had marred the healthcare system compounding to sufferings of patients here.
Ahmad pointed to the need to prioritize investments in the healthcare services that could benefit public at large.
The senior doctors visited many government hospitals in Srinagar and interacted with doctors.
They would be holding monthly OPDs at Kashmir Clinics which has tied up with Manipal Hospitals for patients who need to go outside the State.
New City Hospital and Kashmir Clinics Director, Dr Shakeel Ur Rehman said it was a CME and introduction of Manipal Hospitals with local doctors.
“It will help to take critical patients at an appropriate time for consultation here or to a specific hospital outside the State if they are not handled here as we have infrastructure issues,” he said.
Rehman said most times families of patients, when patients develop serious ailment, are often confused and the delay in transportation causes deaths.