It needs a massive overhaul.
Last week I missed my weekly column because of some unavoidable situation. One of my close relations required medical attention followed by some inevitable curative intervention. The whole schedule was more chaotic than challenging. As disciplined taxpayer I sought remedial help from the state run medical health system through proper channel. As earlier, even this time my experience with bewildered ‘sarkari’ healthcare system proved more disastrous. But this time round, I firmly managed to come out of state’s crumbling healing system to seek temporary refuge within the exploitative but comparatively safer cover of private healthcare system.
Followed by murkier but thriving real-estate trade, selling dreams of health and education is the most lucrative enterprises in Jammu & Kashmir state. A novel Nexus between exploiters, politicians and few devious elements within the administration has allowed these murky trades to flourish unabatedly. Healthcare is the most vital aspect of our survival and requires utmost attention and perfection with highest degree of honesty and sincerity. While on one hand, state run healthcare organization is in mess, the private healthcare system is out for a kill to mint money out of the desperation and sufferings of the common people. Lack of monitoring and proper legal control over private health sector has turned private health entrepreneurs’ into rogues.
Even after possessing huge infrastructure and qualified manpower, our state run health sector is in confusion since long; unable to provide proper healthcare service. Millions are spent for maintaining the sterile atmosphere within our hospitals, but almost every healthcare center is a potential pathogenic bomb, about to explode any time. Hospital acquired infections within our hospitals, particularly in post-operative stages are very common; in many cases leading to septicemia and ultimately excruciating death. In the first instance the surroundings and ambiance outside our hospitals is horrible, looking like gateways to a nightmarish departure. From rude response and treatment to disgraceful discharge the experience is painful. At every stage only favored few are catered with love and care and rest all are condemned to agonizing misery. Our ‘Shafa-khanas’ (temples of wellbeing) have turned into ‘Zabah-khanas’ (slaughter houses). Certainly, the private healthcare sector is growing on modern scientific lines but their unfair trade practices and exorbitant price packages are disappointing. This sector, yet being in its nascent stage can be streamlined by proper regulation, restraining and weeding out unscrupulous exploitative elements. Unless, a separate suitable regulatory authority is constituted to monitor this growing sector, it will grow in a haphazard manner. Presently there is no regulation of rates, capacity and required infrastructure and qualified manpower. Monitoring of pollution status, sanitation and other ecological aspects within private health enterprises is almost zero. A cursory look within and outside these units provides a pathetic look; giving a damn to most vital aspect of healthcare—the pathogen factor. Several, virtual healthcare quackeries run out of shanties by unqualified persons either in connivance with the monitoring authorities or by exploiting loopholes within the existing regulatory rules.
Thank God! This time, I could manage a safe refuge within the existing private healthcare system, obviously, by parting with more than two months of my legitimate earnings, but what will be the fate of a poor soul who is unable to make his two ends meal, leave alone the luxury of seeking curative help from private sector? As if adding fuel to the fire, the recent startling revelation made by World-famous cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Naresh Trehan about the spurious drug scenario is an eye-opener for the health authorities in Kashmir. Authorities should take note of this complex disclosure, as it can be equally nefarious and honest in nature and design—both ways it is killing for the common man. This statement of Trehan speaks volumes about the stakes involved in private health sector, particularly in Kashmir. Undoubtedly, his multi-pronged spurious drug statement was aimed at desperate and gullible healthcare seekers of Kashmir.
Our healthcare system is crying. Is anybody listening?