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SDH Tangdar crumbling under massive staff crunch, BMO says ‘get permission to talk to me first’

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By Tasaduq Hussain 

Kupwara: Sub-District hospital Tangdhar in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district is facing acute shortage of doctors and up-gradation as only seven doctors are catering to almost 70 thousand people.

The 30-bed SDH in Tangdhar Karnah is the only major health care centre in the region and  in case of emergency, the patients have to tread a hilly, rough mountainous terrain to another sub district hospital Kupwara for further treatment, which is not affordable for many.

A medical officer in SDH Tangdhar said that 27 posts of MBBS (Medical officer) are allotted, of which only seven doctors are available.

“78 paramedical staff is allotted but only eight are available rest are vacant,” he said wishing not to be named.

Sources inside hospital confided that the hospital has one anesthetist, a gynecologist (working round the clock from last 27 years), a physician, two surgeons, two medical officers and a doctor under NRHM.

“There is no orthopedic, optholmogist, radiologist, sinologist, neurologist, cardiologist, pediatrician despite 14 per cent of the population comprises of children,” source said.

As per the population requirement, the SDH inaugurated in 2013 by the then CM Omar Abdullah should be 100-bed with fully equipped diagnostic facilities and trained manpower.

“By up gradation the man power will increase, presently it seems that it is not more than a PHC,” said Dr. Parvaiz Iqbal who is being posted in the hospital since June 1993.

A small beautiful valley Karnah with green meadows in the northwest of Kupwara is situated at a distance of 78 kilometers from district headquarters after crossing the Sadhna Gali of height 10,000 feet with difficult bumpy mountain range pass.

“A lone gynecologist posted from last 27 years has performed over 3,000 surgeries. My family lives in Srinagar. Even if I wish to meet them, I cannot travel as my absence makes things worse in the hospital,” said Dr. Parvaiz Iqbal.

“It was at funeral of my father, which I could not attend as that exact time I got a call from hospital for an emergency and I came to look for it,” Iqbal said.

Iqbal said that many a times he brought the issue in the notice of higher authorities  but ‘a standard reply none wants to serve in this remote area’ comes to him.

Block medical officer Tangdhar Dr Shafiq however did not respond to queries but asked this correspondent to get permission to talk to him instead.

“I cannot comment unless you get permission from higher ups,”  Shafiq said.

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