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    Public Health in the Border Areas of Ghanche District….By Muhammad Irfan

    Let’s make it the change the way the local resident’s wants it to be.

    Chourbat Valley; a cluster of villages located in the extreme north of Pakistan along the India-Pakistan border in the Ghanche District of Gilgit-Baltistan. The residents of this valley are well known for their sacrifices and sufferings during the decade’s long war history between Pakistan and India. The people in these villages at the edge of the border are the first civilians on the ground to respond the any fatal attack from the Indian borders by standing parallel to the Pakistan Army to defend their motherland.

    Let’s come to the important visit of the region’s military chief and head of the district’s civil administration to the only ten bed hospital in Siksa Village. The people of the region consider this meeting as of great importance to improve their health facilities. Soon after the Kargil war, keeping in consideration the sensitivity of the border the number of military units were increased in the region. In order to accommodate the large number of military influx in the area the military started using all the government buildings as a shelter and later the administration of the only public hospital also shifted to military’s medical department to increase the efficiency and to facilitate the large number of military personals in the border region.
    During the initial years of the military administration the hospital had the state of the art facilities with well trained medical practitioners who facilitated both the public and army personals. The locals praised the role of military for bringing revolutionary improvement in the hospital and introducing best health facilities which they have never witnessed in the hospital before. Number of sophisticated surgeries and almost all the minor surgeries were executed in the hospital. Due to the excellent health facilities, residents from the neighboring villages also started taking advantage of the facility and people started travelling from fare flung areas of Gilgit-Baltistan to Siksa Village for medical purposes.

    But after few years the number of border skirmishes reduced and gradually the facilities at the hospital also started shrinking. Now the local people often complaints for the lack of medicines and doctors in the hospital and simple medical tests like X-Ray scans facilities are not available in the hospital. People often show their concerns to the politicians and civil administration but they don’t pay much attention as they think that the hospital is under military administration.

    In a recent picture published on Facebook page of District Administration Ghanche showed the joint visit of the district’s administrative head Deputy Commissioner Mr. Adeel Haider and head of 323 Birgade Siachen, Birgadr. Nayyer Naseer to the Siksa Hospital. The two heads during this important meeting meet the military and civil staff at the hospital and exchanged gifts. The public see this visit as a ray of hope to get any improvement in the health facilities in the region’s only hospital. The public further expects the civil and military administration and public representatives to sit together and strive for the provision of all the basic health facilities to local residents.

    In the current situation the people of the area are compelled to travel about 6 hours to visit a doctor concerning any sophisticated health problem. While those poor people who cannot afford the financial burden for travelling to other cities often go through worst health conditions and believe death as the ultimate fate.




    Muhammad Irfan
    Master Fellow,
    Department of Media and Communication Technical
    University of Ilmenau.


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