Gasping for Breath

News Kashmir Exclusive

Health sector, which is one of the main indicators of the development of any concerned nation, society or region has always presented bleak picture in Kashmir. Ventilators are key component of any concerned health sector. A medical ventilator (or simply ventilator in context) is a machine designed to mechanically move breathable air into and out of the lungs, to provide the mechanism of breathing for a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or breathing insufficiently.


While modern ventilators are computerized machines, patients can be ventilated with a bag valve mask,


a simple hand-operated bag-valve mask. Ventilators are chiefly used in intensive care medicine, home care, and emergency medicine (as standalone units) and in anesthesia (as a component of an anesthesia



When one takes a look at availability of ventilators in the Kashmir hospitals it provides dismal picture. Even the prime public hospitals in Kashmir are failing to have the desired number of ventilators. The lone pediatric hospital of Valley, GB Pant, too faces the shortage of ventilators. There are only 18 functional ventilators. Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital, Srinagar has only 12 functional ventilators

Dr Nasir –ul- Hassan , Doctors Association Kashmir President , while talking to News Kashmir stated -” Ventilators are key to every health sector in the world. Ventilators have a key role in saving human lives everywhere but be it tertiary or peripheral hospitals ventilators are in very short supply in Kashmir .SKIMS with just more than two dozen ventilators and SMHS has just a dozen odd ventilators and rural hospitals are having no concept of ventilators at all. Our patients are dying for the want of ventilators as basically all critical patients need ventilator support .We are building big hospitals which I prefer to call recreational centres as they are not able to save patients and are just feeding employees. Ventilator related paradigms need a big overhaul if we want to achieve desired excellence in the health sector.”

A look at emergency of the most of the rural hospitals is enough to prove the sick nature of hospitals. Ironically, the crucial department like emergency is marred by widespread chaos and huge flow of patients. Virtually, the all important ventilators are nonexistent in our rural hospitals . Worryingly enough, there is no concept of ventilators in rural healthcare of Kashmir.

On the condition of anonymity, a senior Doctor at Bandipora District Hospital stated – ” Lack of ventilators is direly marring the health sector of Kashmir and it is the patients who are at the receiving end of all this .We have just one ventilator at Bandipora Hospital and this shabby condition especially with reference to poor availability of ventilators in our health sector is a big drawback in our health sector .”

There should be five ventilators for 100 beds and no hospitals in our part of the world are matching this set criteria. Experts and masses are urging on the government to improve the healthcare facilities in Kashmir and in this regard increasing the number of ventilators and providing every hospital with ventilator is the need of hour.