In occupied Kashmir, patients face immense hardships and inconvenience at the outpatient department (OPD) in Agha Syed Yousuf Memorial (ASYM) District Hospital in Badgam as 26 kanals of the hospital land is under occupation of Indian army.
According to media sources, long queues of patients are witnessed everyday at the OPD of the hospital while scores of patients lie on beds fixed in a narrow corridor, and scores more, accompanied by a family member, have nowhere to go. Outside each doctor’s chamber, patients and attendants are crunched into a small space. It is suffocating. The patients in the queues hardly find a place to sit.
“My son is suffering from a serious ailment. He can’t walk on his own. Here, there is no space in the corridors to move as patients’ beds have been placed here. The pushing and shoving from people makes us uneasy. But they can’t be blamed either: there is no space at all. It is like a flock of sheep crammed into a shed,” Sharifa, an attendant accompanying her son, lamented.
Self-evident trouble with infrastructure apart, Chief Medical Officer, Badgam, G M Dar told media that 26 kanals of the hospital land were under occupation of Indian Army. “We have had a survey with a defence person, which was also attended by revenue officials. But there has been no progress till date in favour of the Army’s vacating the land,” he said.
With little room to expand facilities, patients are left vulnerable and helpless. The ASYM is the only big health institute in Badgam district.
“I am a labourer and can’t afford private clinics. So I have no option but to visit the government-run hospitals,” said a patient, adding, “We are being treated as third-class people, no one cares for us.”
“This has been happening here for many years. And it will continue as the administration is not lenient towards patients,” said another patient.
Medical Superintendent, Dr Deeba, admitted that patients were facing problems due to the institution’s lack of infrastructure. She added that though catering to the population of the entire district, the hospital has a capacity of only 80 beds, nowhere near enough to manage the huge in-flow of patients.