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No mask, hand sanitizers at Kashmir hospitals

Srinagar, Mar 16: Health workers are at grave risk of contracting infection as authorities have failed to provide personal protection equipment including N95 masks, eye-shields, gowns, gloves and hand sanitizers in the hospitals.

A senior doctor at SMHS Hospital said the tertiary care institute is facing a huge shortage of basic equipment such as hand sanitizers and masks.

“The response of the administration towards the escalating public health emergency is totally pathetic. Here, we deal with hundreds of patients every day and make ourselves vulnerable to all kinds of infections. Despite that, they can’t provide us few masks and hand sanitizers,” the doctor rued.

Similarly, a medico who works in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), SMHS said the administration is doing nothing in the face of an ever increasing health crisis due to the virus.

“As per the rules, every bed in the ICU should be having a hand sanitizer besides it. However, there is no such protocol being followed. This is the scenario in ICU. Imagine the plight of other wards,” he said.

What is more baffling is that the whole situation is unfolding when 3-4, positive cases of HIN1 are admitted in the isolation ward of the SMHS hospital, as per sources.

On the other side, all the district and sub-district hospitals of the valley barring Anantnag district hospital are working without masks and hand sanitizers.

“The doctors are attending to patients without any safety gear despite knowing the highly contagious nature of the virus” said an official of the Government Medical College, Baramulla.

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Dr. Samia Rashid, Principal of Government Medical College, Srinagar said they have written to the authorities and the matter related to masks and hand sanitizers will be resolved soon. “Moreover, we have recently procured around 2, 500 masks,” she said.

Dr. Samia, however, hastened to add that not everyone is supposed to wear masks. “Only the infected persons and those in contact with them should be wearing masks. Further, hand sanitizers are not the only solution.  The medicos should wash their hands frequently with soap,” she said.

Director Health Services Kashmir Dr. Sameer Mattoo said there is sufficient availability of personal protection gear in health services. “We are fully prepared to deal with coronavirus,” Dr. Mattoo said.

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