Doctors warn of grim health situation amid tight curfew in IOK

Srinagar, August 20 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, doctors have warned that the grim situation has led to a blatant denial of the right to healthcare amid unabated curfew and communication blackout imposed in the territory since August 5.

A group of 18 doctors from across India through a letter called for the lifting of the restrictions immediately. The lockdown came after India revoked the Article 370 of its constitution, which gave Jammu and Kashmir special status. India then sent tens of thousands of troops to the Kashmir valley to counter protests.

Internet access has also been shut down in the area, which has stopped people communicating and caused havoc for shopkeepers and pharmacists who order their products online. It has been reported that vital supplies such as insulin and baby food are running out.

The doctors warn of increasing shortages of drugs and problems with travel, including patients not being able to travel for routine care, people not being able to call for an ambulance, and staff struggling to get to work.

They wrote, “Some doctors are worried about their patients on dialysis as only a few patients requiring dialysis from Srinagar have been able to come for treatment, while those living outside have not been able to reach the hospital. Certain medications are out of stock in the local stores and there is at least one report of a person having to fly to New Delhi to purchase medicines for a sick relative.”

“There are reports of other patients who have not been able to reach the hospital in time for their scheduled cycle of chemotherapy. The situation has also led to a lot of mental stress among a population already living with high levels of psychosocial stress,” the group added. “In the current situation there is a blatant denial of the right to healthcare and the right to life. We call upon the Indian government to ease restrictions on communication and travel at the earliest to allow patients to access healthcare without hindrance.”

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