Nine ventilators for Kulgam’s 4 lakh plus population, none operational

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The nine ventilators in the 41-bedded hospital for patients infected with Covid-19 in the Kulgam district, which has a population of more than four lakh residents, are non-operational due to the unavailability of staff trained in tertiary medical care .

According to Muzaffar Ahmad Zargar, medical superintendent of the District Hospital Kulgam, the hospital has seven high-end ventilators and two transport ventilators available. “The ventilators are [functional]but we do not place  patients on those yet,” he said. “The reason is that there is a shortage of tertiary medical care staff to operate ventilators.”

Even as the hospital has a 1000 litres per minute oxygen plant, it has only thirteen oxygen concentrators. Zargar added that south Kashmir has no oxygen filling plant and “that was the need of the hour.” The non-operational ventilators have led hospital authorities to refer critical patients to the Government Medical College in Anantnag.

The district is home to a population of more than 4.24 lakh, as per the latest census which itself is a decade old. There are about 8,590  active cases of Covid-19 in the district and so far 29 have died.

When contacted, Kulgam Chief Medical Officer Mohammad Rafiq Dhobi said: “We are using ventilators in non-invasive mode. Invasive ventilators come under tertiary care that will be made operational within a month or so.”

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