Although the sub-district hospital Tral caters to 90 villages, the post of much-needed eye specialist has been vacant for the past several years.
Established during the Dogra monarchy, the hospital has been marred by shortage of doctors in general.
As per Indian Primary Health Standard guidelines and regulations, an ophthalmologist is an essential post at the sub-district hospital level.
Sources said after 2012 no eye specialist was appointed at the hospital, although an eye technician is working here.
“Some years ago an eye specialist was transferred from here but until now no replacement has been sent,” an official at the hospital said. Patients have to visit either Pulwama or Srinagar hospitals for eye treatment.
Recently a local NGO, Yakut, in collaboration with directorate of health services Kashmir organised a two-month long free medical camp at the SDH. According to Yakut chairman Farooq Trali, 2250 patients had eye check up and cataract surgeries were conducted on 174 persons. The figures suggest the need for a permanent eye specialist at the SDH.
Chief medical officer Pulwama Talat Jabeen said, “We cannot afford to provide permanent eye specialist unless the centre gets upgraded to SDH level.”
Surprised by this answer, this reporter talked to sources in the health department who said the health facility is officially still a community health centre although a board fixed on the building calls it sub-district hospital Tral.
Director health services Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, said the centre “is as good as a sub-district hospital.”