When ex-minister for health and medical education Choudhary Lal Singh was boosting of having reformed the department, his counterpart in the central government Jagat Prakash Nadda was ridiculing him for having failed to bring the much promised turn around in the health care scenario of Jammu and Kashmir.
Ex- health minister got an office constructed for himself in the Super Speciality hospital, interfered in the working of doctors, and above all repeatedly claimed of being one of the best health ministers in the country. Later on, when his department was awarded by a national channel he got huge hoardings installed in all the health and medical education institutes.
After getting the award, wherever he went he claimed that his department has been awarded because of his over-efficiency. Such was his confidence that he got posters printed worth crores of rupees; send them to all the block and village level health institution so that people there could come to know that Jammu and Kashmir’s health department was no.1 in the country.
But, his claims and counter claims were all rebutted by none other than the union health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda. In a report, prepared by his department, a copy of which is with Newspoint Bureau, it has been clearly stated that people in Jammu and Kashmir prefer going to private health care institutes over the one opened by government. Report puts a serious question mark on inability of survey conducted by national news channel claiming that Jammu and Kashmir was no.1 in health care sector.
According to this report, 55.3 percent people in Jammu and Kashmir prefer private institutions over government hospitals which are controlled, managed and funded by the state health ministry.
55.3 percent households do not go to the government hospitals owing to poor quality of healthcare services which they provide. Ordeal begins in the emergency of government hospitals and ends either in the mortuary or in some badly managed ward where from Doctors to Nurses, you have to virtually hanker around to make them do what is otherwise their routine duty.
Though the survey does show that patients from 62.9 percent households go to government hospitals for treatment but this includes a huge number of 72.6 percent of rural households and just 41.4 percent of urban households. Besides, the reason cited for going to the government hospital is non-availability of vibrant private sector in rural as well as urban areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
This survey has shown that 58.2 percent households in urban areas prefer private hospitals over government institutions, thus clearly indicating that given an option, people in J&K trust private healthcare over the one provided by the government virtually free of cost. A huge number i.e. 58.2 percent households in the urban areas prefer private medical sectors yet the India today group awarded J&K Health department as best in the country.
Survey found out that poor quality of care service coupled with too long waiting time and a general neglect by the staff which is far lesser in number than what is required for effectively manning a government hospital forced them to go to private healthcare institutions. A huge percentage of 33 percent among those surveyed reasoned lack of nearby facilities for going to government hospital.
This shocking revelation completely exposes the reality behind the crores of money spent on hoardings and advertisements just to spread a word that health ministry had done wonders and the same had been recognized at the national level by a national magazine. Besides, this appalling situation where people prefer private hospitals over government healthcare facilities does raise questions on facilities being provided in 1879 sub-centers, 334 PHCs, 70CHCs, 2265 sub-centers, 637 PHCs and 84 CHCs by the state government apart from the five medical colleges and hospitals in the twin capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar.
Not only this, state was awarded despite the fact that 81 PHCs are still running without doctors. 285 others do not have trained laboratory technicians while 78 are without Pharmacists. In the rural areas, such is the progress of health ministry that just 7.3 percent Panchayats have formed health and sanitation committees while just 9.5 percent were aware of the untied funds. Not only this, even the progress on other health parameters is not at par with what other states in the country have achieved in the last decade or so.