Our children are dying. Is anybody listening out there?Many of my readers and friends will complain on my month long absence from the print media. During this interregnum many friends telephoned and prompted me to continue to write. For a couple of days I looked for a theme to write on. There is no dearth of themes but there are also some compulsions. I decided today I will not touch upon any political theme. We have innumerable problems here like health, power, education, drinking water and many more things. It is so sad to think that our generations to come are getting callously killed in hospitals. We understand the Chief Minister is not going to the hospital to treat the ailing kid nor will he be able to bring clean drinking water to every household. But we will remind him of the mandate given to him by the people. Accordingly it is the duty of the Chief Minister and his government that he will not only issue orders to solve the problems of the people and not only present the plans wrapped in plethora of papers but will also see on the ground what is happening. Are his orders and instructions and plans carried out faithfully or not?
More than three hundred seventy new born babies died in G.B. Pant Hospital owing to the carelessness of the doctors concerned or the corruption of selling medicines to private shopkeepers. The Superintendent of the hospital was candid in saying that a “drug mafia was running in the hospital.” Kashmir Uzma splashed on its front page pictures of heaps of filth and garbage in the precincts of the hospital which in no way speak that this could be a hospital. Parents admit children in hospitals in the hope they would recover but the attendants have to buy emergency medicines from the open market.
This is not true of G.B. Pant hospital only. The situation in other hospitals in Jammu, Doda, Poonch and Srinagar is nothing different. In whichever government hospital one goes, one has to cover ones nose and mouth with a kerchief. Such is the obnoxious stench. Litter fills rooms and corridors of the hospital. Beds are without mattresses and sheets. If there is a sheet it has accumulated dirt for years at end. Only glucose is given free to patients and for any other medicine from a pill for headache to emergency medicines the caretakers are given the prescription and asked to buy these from market. Many poor people coming from far off places have been seen holding the prescription in their hands and begging for money to procure prescribed medicines. A patient requiring surgery of heart or kidney holds a letter from the surgeon and while begging shows it to the donors to help him. These people begging for money to treat their patients are now to be seen frequenting the streets of Srinagar. Why should not the government order a check of all pharmaceutical shops located around the precincts of government hospitals, scrutinize the memos related to purchase of medicines and also their licenses. No medical shop should be allowed to function within a radius of one mile from the main hospital.
Hospital employees from a class IV upward perform their duty as if they are asked to carry heavy burden on their shoulders. Despite being government employees doctors are running lucrative private business at their clinics and are amassing wealth. The government seems helpless to stem the rot. These stone–hearted doctors put the patients to great financial burden by advising them to go for private pathological laboratory tests where they have to spend thousands of rupees and the doctors get commission out of it.