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Dr Saleem Ur Rehman: Doctor who reformed J&K’s healthcare
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Dr Saleem Ur Rehman: Doctor who reformed J&K’s healthcare

Post by M Peerzada on Sunday, April 2, 2023

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Srinagar, April 01: Director General, Family Welfare, MCH & Immunization, J&K, Dr Saleem Ur Rehman, who served at many important positions, superannuated on March 31.
He has rendered meritorious service of 35 years at different posts and important positions in Jammu and Kashmir’s Health Department.
Born and brought up in Doda, Dr Saleem did his MBBS from Government Medical College Jammu in 1998. Later he did Master of Public Health (Health Policy and Administration) (MPH) from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, USA.
He served as Director Health Services, Kashmir and Jammu, Director General Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir, Director General, Youth Services & Sports, J&K, member of National Medical Commission India (first ever from J&K), President State Medical Council J&K & Ladakh, Project Director AIDS Control Program, J&K, Deputy Director Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir, Assistant. Director, Directorate of Health & Family Welfare, Member of National Programme for Climate Change and Human Health (NPCCHH), member of Board of Directors, Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL) and other positions.
As DG Family Welfare MCH and Immunization J&K, he played a pivotal role during Covid-19 vaccination drive with the result J&K resulted in 100 percent coverage in 12 year age group and above in both the first and 2nd doses.
The 60-year-old retired doctor also contributed in increased full immunization coverage to 95 percent and increased institutional deliveries to 84 percent which is noteworthy.
Dr Saleem also facilitated the introduction of new vaccine (PCV) and digital platforms for strengthening of vaccination and family planning services.
During his tenure, he initiated vaccine-preventable disease surveillance and MR surveillance besides increasing the reporting of AEFI cases through SAFE-VAC portal.
He was the one who started training on Aadhar Linked Birth Registrations (ALBR) in all districts of UT and Aadhar Linked Birth Registrations started at all designated delivery points and till date 7000 registrations have been done for the first time in J&K.
During his tenure as Director Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Saleem created the Skill & Simulation Lab at Dhobiwan in Kashmir in 2011 for emergency rooms which was recognized as best practice at National Summit on Good and Replicable Practices and Innovations in Public Health Care Systems by the Union Government in 2017.
As per doctors, establishment of emergency rooms in major hospitals enabled emergency and critical care within the golden hour, which helped down mortality and morbidity.
They said introduction of emergency codes for prompt response to trauma and other emergencies and introduction of specialist and super specialty services in district hospitals was praiseworthy.
Under his guidance, he started the Save Heart Kashmir initiative in Dec 2017 and established Emergency Rooms at all district and sub-district hospitals in Kashmir and Ladakh in 2012 to cater to cardiac emergencies in hard-to-reach areas in the valley.
“He was behind the Save Heart Kashmir initiative that connected different peripheral hospitals with tertiary care centres through WhatsApp and became the largest virtual hospital on earth that enabled early thrombolysis by decreasing door-to-needle time. This platform connected hundreds of doctors 24/7 for advice on ECG and treatment,” said a cardiologist at DHSK.
He also played a vital role during the 2014 Kashmir floods and devised and developed disaster manual and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for mitigating disaster situations.
Dr Saleem has been active in the management of healthcare during Amarnath Yatra since 2017. He established quality care services, well equipped medical centers for emergency cardiac care and trauma enroute the holy shrine at 14000ft.
Under Dr Saleem’s leadership, PPP mode services in diagnostics were started that improved diagnostic related infrastructure. Notably, dialysis services in three district hospitals were started for the first time.
Interestingly, in 2018 former NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant during his visit to District Hospital Baramulla had appreciated the work of the hospital, patient management and cleanliness.
“Delighted to visit Baramulla Hospital and see the excellent work done here. This is one of the finest hospitals in the world, neat, clean and tidy, professional with committed and motivated team doctors,” Kant had stated then.
During his tenure as Director Health Services, Jammu, Dr Saleem created a Skill and Simulation Lab at RIHFW Nagrota, Jammu in Jan 2022 where around 600 participants were trained.
He also initiated Save Life Jammu initiative in Jan 2022 under which 49 ERs were established where around 14,633 emergencies were tackled and 364 patients were thrombolyzed in 9 months.
Dr Saleem created geriatric and palliative care units in all district hospitals of Jammu and ensured rainwater harvesting, Solar Panels and CFLs in all hospitals of Jammu division.
He started Artificial Intelligence based technology in healthcare like Alveofit, Tricog and Qure.ai in the Jammu division to aid diagnosis and this happened for the 1st time in J&K.
As the Project Director of AIDS Control Program J&K, he initiated mapping of cases/instituting NAAT in J&K and utilized surplus plasma by outsourcing production of blood factors.
Notably, as President of J&K & Ladakh State Medical Council, Dr Saleem contributed a lot for the digitalization of Jammu and Kashmir Medical Council.
During his tenure as Director General, Youth Services & Sports, J&K, he created a multidisciplinary sports facility in the department.
He also established skiing infrastructure and trained skiers from all districts for the first time in J&K. He also introduced skiing at remote and border areas of Gurez and Pahalgam.
Besides that, Dr Saleem introduced state-of-the-art synthetic turf hockey facilities at Poonch, district of Jammu division, Pulwama, Jammu and Athletic tracks at Jammu & Kashmir Universities.
Dr Saleem was successful in condemnation of old equipment from all the institutions in the Department of Youth Services and Sports.
Apart from being a doctor and administrator, he has also contributed a lot in research regarding Hepatitis C, study on “Disease Prevalence” in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir etc.
Dr Saleem’s fresh research titled “estimating maternal mortality and identifying causes of maternal deaths in Jammu and Kashmir: a two-year epidemiological study” along with two other researchers has been published in International Journal of Advances in Medicine just after his retirement.
On Friday, Dr Saleem, the Director General Family Welfare MCH & Immunization J&K and Directorate of Health Services Jammu was accorded farewell after attaining superannuation.
“It was altogether an exciting and a learning experience to learn and serve people at the important positions from time to time,” he said.  
The officials of the health department lauded the contribution of the retired doctor and acknowledged his services in taking important measures during his tenure. They recalled the contribution of retiring officer during the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
The retiring doctor said he will always remain indebted to the Jammu and Kashmir Government, Health Department, officers and officials of the department and people for the support, cooperation, love and affection shown upon him during his services.
While recalling the dedicated services rendered by the retiring officer, officials of health department, Family Welfare, MCH & Immunization, J&K, congratulated the Dr Saleem and said that he gave his every effort to provide better services to the people and performed to the best of his capabilities in the public service delivery.
They employees wished him happy, healthy and prosperous post-retirement and hoped that his experience shall remain guiding the health department in its better functioning.

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