The Department of Health and Medical Education in Jammu and Kashmir has proclaimed on its website that it is aimed at improvement of health system and health status of people especially focused on the rural areas. However, the emphasis of the health department on health outcomes and status of people and rural areas is not aptly extended towards the countryside. This can be observed in the concentration of public as well as private healthcare facilities in Srinagar and Jammu.
The impact of poor health facilities is profoundly observed in the case of women and financially challenged individuals in rural areas. The example for this could be identified in the limited attendance of gynaecologists at the sub-district hospital in Sogam Lolab, located approximately 115 km north to Srinagar.
According to the statement of a citizen from the Lolab area in Kupwara district, she had to bring her 15 year old daughter to a private hospital in Srinagar owing to the limitations on treatment of even minor gynaecological problems in their own district. She also cited the problems of limited attendance of doctors at the sub-district hospital as well as the incompetence of the doctors in assessing the patient’s condition and ensuring their improvement. However, the health officials have a different take on this topic as they suggest considerable improvement in the situation over the course of many years. According to the statement of the Chief Medical Officer of Kupwara district, Praladh Singh there have been considerable issues with staffing in the public health facilities for a long time albeit with the recent measures that were adopted for addressing them.
Poor healthcare facilities have been responsible for resulting in various demonstrations and protests. However many officials from the different district hospitals have stated that it is difficult for dealing with female patients primarily due to the lack of human resources such as anaesthetists, nurses and gynaecologists. They also informed that not a single district hospital in Kashmir is equipped with a High Dependency Unit (HDU) otherwise known as an Intermediate Care Unit.