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USG machine defunct, pregnant women suffer at PHC Kalantra

High-end USG machine to be installed soon: Principal

Post by M Peerzada on Saturday, December 17, 2022

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Srinagar, Dec 16: Pregnant women of more than a dozen villages are bearing the brunt of defunct ultrasonography machine at Primary Health Centre Kalantra in Kreeri area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Residents of Kalantra and its adjoining areas said that the health facility caters to hundreds of patients of more than a dozen villages who have been hit by the defunct USG machine and seek its replacement. 
At the PHC, an associated hospital of GMC Baramulla, a USG machine was installed six years back and it is defunct for the past three months leaving patients to suffer.
A pregnant woman (who wished not to be named) at Kalantra said due to lack of USG facility at the PHC, they are compelled to visit SDH Kreeri, which is 15 km away.
“Going to SDH Kreeri is a daunting task as the road is in shambles. We face a number of issues while travelling. A new USG machine should be installed at the earliest,” she said.
She also said that even some pregnant women have to travel 20 to 25 km to get their USG done and they also face immense inconveniences.
Irfan Ahmad, a resident, said hospital staff are also avoiding doing x-rays despite having an x-ray machine at the hospital while some basic diagnostic tests are also not conducted.
“The employees posted at the diagnostic lab are not well qualified. The hospital should run 24/7. Our patients are suffering. We appealed to higher ups many times to provide technical staff for diagnostic lab but nothing has been done so far,” he said.
Locals also said although gynecologists have been posted some two years back after public outcry, there is a lack of basic equipment at the hospital.
Due to staff shortage, patients are compelled to visit other hospitals including SDH Kreeri, SDH Chandoosa, and District Hospital Baramulla for treatment.
Residents also complained that due to the lack of medicines at the hospital they are compelled to buy the medicines from the market despite the hospital getting buffer stock.
“We have to buy all the medicines. Many patients are poor and can’t afford to buy all the medicines from the market,” said Irfan.
In 2019, the PHC Kalantra was converted into Rural Training Health Centre (RHTC) under Government Medical College Baramulla but it continues to face neglect.
“After the conversion to RHTC, we were promised that the facility would be developed and people will have health facilities at doorsteps,” said Manzoor Ahmad, a local resident.
Notably, more than 12 years back, a residential quarter was constructed for hospital staff but it has not been handed over to the health department and remains in shambles.
“If the quarter would have been made functional, it would have streamlined the deployment of night staff. Otherwise having it unused for more than a decade is unfortunate,” he said.
The civil society of Kalantra had many times raised the issue of the residential quarter with higher-ups but till date, it has not been made functional.
The hospital is centrally located and caters to over 30,000 population of villages including Kalantra Payeen, Kalantra Bala, Danmoh, Kakothal, Kachwa, Muqam, Darwa, Mungam, Bandipayeen, Kohlina, Saterseeran, Nagbal and other adjoining villages.
Dr Ruby Reshi, Principal GMC Baramulla said the existing USG at the PHC is defunct and they have requested for a new high-tech machine to J&KMSCL. “Hopefully, we will get a new USG machine soon for the hospital,” she said.
Regarding the residential quarter building, the principal said, “We don’t know when the residential quarter building was constructed. We have taken up the issue with Planning Department. We are working on it and we are concerned about the issue.”

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