The state of healthcare in Kashmir is dire, a sentiment shared by the general population. Decades of conflict have ravaged the Valley leading to a significant brain drain with the region’s best healthcare professionals seeking outside opportunities. Capacity-building in the form of training and education is needed to support the growing generation of doctors, front-line care providers, and health administrators. Capital, resource, and infrastructure investments are needed to enhance the quality of care, attract and retain strong talent, and improve patient care and outcomes.
In September of 2014, severe flooding caused widespread damage to Kashmir’s already waning government medical facilities; the main SMHS hospital, Lal Ded Hospital, Bone & Joint Hospital, GB Pant Pediatric Hospital, and SKIMS Hospital in Bemina were among those impacted. Most of the machinery, operating rooms, and diagnostic equipment were damaged, making it impossible for hospitals to function effectively in the aftermath. Tertiary care in the Kashmir Valley has been completely handled by SMHS-associated hospitals and SKIMS Soura. SMHS, the single largest facility, and SKIMS Hospital in Bemina, became non-functional except for a nominally functioning OPD and casualty unit. Private hospitals and diagnostic centers in the summer capital, smaller compared to the government hospitals in terms of infrastructure and expertise, were also hit. The district hospitals could not serve as a replacement for the tertiary-care hospitals in the city. As a result, many patients continue to seek care outside of the region, a costly affair for those who can afford to do so and a non-option for those who cannot.
Current, Ongoing, and Past Projects
In 2017 we provided long-term rehabilitation and support for low vision and blind patients in the Kashmir valley. Most of these patients were victims of war who were blinded in 2016 when local police and military forces indiscriminately fired pellet guns at peaceful protesters and innocent bystanders maiming hundreds of civilians including young children. In 2018, we will continue to provide devices and training to help rehabilitate more vision-impacted individuals in learning how to get back to school or work.
Kashmir Crisis 2016 Relief
In the summer of 2016, clashes between local factions and the Indian army led to escalated tensions and violence in the Valley. As of August 2016, more than 570 patients had suffered eye injuries as security forces fired lead pellets leading to a “dead eyes” phenomenon. Due to a dearth of ophthalmological providers in the Valley, many victims were forced to travel outside of the region for acute care. You can read more about the crisis that unfolded, here: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/29/world/asia/pellet-guns-used-in-kashmir-protests-cause-dead-eyes-epidemic.html?_r=0
In partnership with the HELP Foundation, we donated 2 surgical kits for retinal surgeries at the SMHS hospital and provided airfare and incidental assistance to 19 patients undergoing treatment in Hyderabad, India.
Critical Care Ambulance Project
Revive Kashmir partnered with the HELP Poor Voluntary Trust (HPVT) to set up a fully equipped ambulance intended to save lives and prevent irreversible disabilities. While Kashmir’s hospitals and NGOs have been transporting trauma and critically-ill patients for years, emergency ambulances and vehicles lack critical care equipment that can stabilize patients before they arrive at the hospital. We raised $13,500 to cover the cost of a hired ambulance driver and anesthetic technician in addition to life-saving equipment such as a defibrillator, ventilator, wheel chair, oxygen therapy kit, splints, and spinal collars. We continue to monitor the impact and needs of this project.