Healthcare infrastructure is not sufficient and systematic in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and it requires an exhaustive infrastructure and professional expertise to take on the challenges of delivery of minimum health care service to dependent citizens.
Health care across of the union territory is largely being managed by government and it lacks private participation to share the responsibility and afford quality health care at comparable cost to needy patients either through private health insurances or recently introduced six health insurance schemes launched by Government of India.
Critical analysis of the health care set up in J& K indicates that there is hardly any dependable medical facility created at district level to evoke confidence amongst local people for decongesting the pressure on Medical College Hospitals at Jammu and Srinagar. It is heartening to note that poor patients from the rural areas suffer inability of the system in ensuring minimum health care services across regions of the union territory that compels affected patients and their family members to either witness illness of the patient helplessly or rush him to any private health care facility available in the neighbouring states/UTs.
People of rural far-flung mountainous area of J& K are badly neglected. There are places where system has failed to position even one doctor and one para medical staff on regular basis and the situation becomes more challenging in absence of any approachable private facility in the area.
According to the recent Health Ministry data, as per WHO’s recommendation of 44.5 Human Resources for Health (HRH ) per 10,000 population, 12 out of 30 states in India have qualified the benchmark.
Union Territory of J&K has failed to achieve the required score and has scored lower than the national average of 33.5 percent
National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) 2018 report, nurse-to-doctor ratio in India was estimated to be 1.7:1, which is lower than the recommendation of 3:1 as per the Indian High Level Expert Group (HLEG).
Even though the nurse-to-doctor ratio in India was lower than the given recommendation, a large-scale difference in the ratio was found in J&K as there were less than one nurse per doctor in the Union Territory, prompting a need to strike the right balance between allied health professionals and doctors .
According to the health ministry data report, J&K has the third lowest number of medical colleges in North India as UT had only 10 medical colleges during 2021-22.
J&K accounted for 1,147 under graduate seats per 1 lakh population in India and 837 post graduates seats per 1 lakh population during 2021-22.
J&K accounted for 11.6 percent of doctors for every 10,000 population—more than WHO’s benchmark of 10 percent per 10,000 population.
J&K had only 34 nursing institutes in 2021 which accounted for only 1 percent of the National Average. J&K during 2020 -2021 had 17.1 (1 percent) nursing seats per 100,000 population .
There is an urgent need for a dedicated drive to study the utilisation of medical professionals especially recently graduated doctors and para medical staff from government medical colleges for positioning them in rural areas for a compulsory tenure to qualify appearing in the entrance test for further study may ease out the situation and in turn provide field experience to these young doctors before they latch on to specialization and super specialization studies in government medical colleges.
Dr Naresh Purohit is Executive Member, Federation of Hospital Administrator. He is also advisor to the National Communicable Disease Control Programme. Dr. Purohit is also Advisor to six other National Health Programmes. He is visiting Professor in five Medical Universities of Southern India including Thrissur based Kerala University of Health Sciences ((The views and opinion expressed in this article are those of the author)