Altaf Hamid Rao.
MUZAFFARABAD/MIRPUR (AJK): (Parliament Times) The AJK President Sardar Masood Khan has urged the medical fraternity particularly the physicians of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir to voice their concern over the worst health crisis in Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). “The people in the IIOJK are faced with the worst health crisis of their history as the Indian occupation forces use pellet guns as a means of crowd control maiming, blinding, and injuring them”, he asserted.
He was addressing a gathering of over 500 doctors and senior health consultants from all the four provinces of Pakistan here at an Annual Mid-Summer meet. Organized by Pakistan Society of Internal Medicine (PSIM), the event was also addressed by President of PSIM, Prof Javed Akram, Senior Vice President Prof Aziz Rehman, Dr Somia Iqtadar, Prof Bikha Ram Devrajani and others.
The AJK President said that the IIOJK people not only suffered from grievous eye injuries but they also have been denied access to communication as well as all levels of primary, secondary or tertiary healthcare amidst year-long lockdown. The occupied territory lacks healthcare staff, drugs, surgical material and the equipment needed for healthcare, he said and cited a report published by the Wall Street Journal, which had suggested that hospitals in IIOJK have become graveyards because of a crisis like humanitarian and health emergency situation prevails there.
Citing another report released by Doctors Sans Frontier (MSF) compiled in collaboration with the University of Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan said that some sort of mental distress, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prevails among nearly 1.8 million Kashmiri adults – 45 per cent of the region’s adult population. “Children seeing killings, physical torture, sexual abuses and destroyed properties before them are particularly suffering from PTSD,” he added.
The AJK President Khan also expressed his deep gratitude to the University of Health Sciences (UHS) for granting affiliation to the medical colleges of the liberated territory, and maintained that this would help AJK improve the quality of medical education being imparted to the students in the state.
Referring to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the state president said that Pakistan and Azad Kashmir had risen to the occasion and responded to the catastrophe with courage and resilience. “By the grace of Almighty Allah, we have done well despite all the limitation by keeping the number of fatalities extremely low,” he said.
Dealing at length with the health profile of liberated territory, the AJK President said that at present, three public sector medical colleges and one in the private sector were producing about 400 graduate students every year. It is a matter of great pride that we have good health infrastructure though it is not perfect as we still have some severe challenges, but we are doing well in certain areas as compared to other provinces of Pakistan.
He said that we have some very good hospitals in the state, but we lack the equipment, medical and technology needed to fight communicable and non-communicable diseases. However, we are gearing up to give priority to the health sector in our development activities.
The AJK president urged the doctors and medical experts to prepare themselves for embracing new technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and cloud computing that have an impact on medical sciences to meet the challenges of future and to compete with the world.