Failing Of ISM

4 mins read

The Legitimate Desk
On a busy Srinagar-Baramulla road near Shalteng, stands a big and beautiful two story building of Indian Systems of Medicines (ISM). Inside this building there are around 100 employees that include medical and paramedical staff.  All are sitting idle in cozy rooms, yawning, sipping tea to beat the indolence.  Female doctors have formed the group in OPD and chit chat over the family matters since they have no patients to attend.

All administrative offices like Director’s office, Deputy Director’s office, District Officer Srinagar, Admo office and officer in charge, Medical Superintendent   are all enjoying the cozy environment of togetherness in chatting with zero output in the hospital building.

Just a year back this institute was witnessing hustle and bustle and offering a tough competition to Allopathy system of medicines. Hundreds of people would make beelines outside this hospital to receive the treatment, preferably those who are fed up with the allopathic system.

The revival of the ISM in Jammu and Kashmir had restored the hope and faith of thousands of people who believe Allopathy troubles more than it cures.

Khadija- 65 year old woman from HMT area was one among those who would frequently visit this hospital ever since it started functioning in 2012.

“I am regular visitor of this hospital. When I use the allopathic medicines, I feel it hurts and damages me inside. But the medicines prescribed in this hospitals doesn’t trouble me, though the healing is a steady and gradual process,” she says. Khadija, however, is dismayed for witnessing the hospital losing its glory and sheen.

Khadija had witnessed a huge rush of patients for last few years in the hospital and suddenly she find herself alone walking into the corridors to seek medical advice.

“It is much to my shock that people have stopped visiting this hospital. The downfall began suddenly since last year and today I am alone at such a big facility to seek medical assistance.”

 The official data vindicate Khadija’s claims. As per the official statistics, the entire facilities of ISM across the state has witnessed a sharp decline of one million patients during 2017-18.

 At many of the facilities, the doctors hardly visit to attend the patients while others posted at district and sub district hospitals have switched over to prescribing allopathic medicines to patients.

As this is not enough to understand the gory picture of ISM, the random visit at only 50-bedded referral type Unani Hospital at Shalteng Srinagar may help you understand its sorry state of affairs.

The damaged pipes, sanitary fittings, shabby look of building, non creation of staff, broken walls around this hospital and no practical facility except dispensary type OPD are all reflections of administrative apathy and anarchy.

 The downfall of the department is concerning some of its employees who are mulling to approach the government to seek its restoration and revival in an order to compete in the healthcare system of Jammu and Kashmir.

“We have budget worth crores and centre government is presently investing huge to promote the ISM in country. But in J&K, the department is failing.”

 In 2014, when the BJP Government led by Narendra Modi won the elections, his cabinet set the ISM as one of the core components of its health care policy in the country.

In fact the BJP led government in New Delhi believes that promoting ancient medicine systems in the country –that all fall under the ISM is the right way in offering alternative medicines to the people and save them from chronic effects of Allopathy system of medicines.

Pic: Agencies

Contrary to these efforts by GoI, sources said that the officials of ISM have kept the state government in dark with ever increasing fall in the patients rush besides a substantial failure in promoting the AYUSH.

“The department at present is at cross roads. It seems to be isolated, confined with defunct dispensaries, with mere eye wash that AYUSH is growing. In fact there is no conspicuous visibility/public acceptance and proper organizational structure and present HoD lacks commitment and administrative experience. On top of it he belongs to allopathy stream and has no roadmap regarding AYUSH in J&K,” reads a complaint written by some officials in the department to present it to the governor.

The complaint further reads, “The ISM institutions, which otherwise were the second best healthcare delivery units in all remote and far flung areas of the state, have fallen like cards now due to administrative apathy. Medical Officers by and large have become self styled leaders and are accountable to none.  Medical Officers only discuss salary hikes and perks. Pay commissions is their first and last priority.

“ISM Department has completely deteriorated. A worrying scenario in the department is infighting between subordinates and seniors, clerical versus medical/paramedical staff.  Records are deliberately misplaced. Employees find it very hard to get their grievances redressed. It was expected that ISM department will flourish but all in vain! All pending proposals are stuck at the administrative level which should have been put on fast track basis but all seems a far reality against the tall claims.

The ISM Department has been rendered in shambles and only vested interests of some self styled leaders are fulfilled as present head of the Department dances to their tunes. These people have damaged the Department and created anarchy, indiscipline and non punctuality among employees of the department.

Present Director ISM Dr Angchuk is unable to cope up with this situation due to lack of administrative experience.

 The Medicinal Plants sector has been shifted to forest department. The prestigious National Institute of Medicinal Plants sanctioned has come to a standstill as present Director is without any Knowledge of Alternative medicines and 50-beded integrated AYUSH Hospitals are nonexistent as no progress has been achieved.

None of the higher authorities cum administration have ever visited the only Unani referral hospital premises, the boundary of which is shared with the footpath of National Highway-44, which speaks about the attention and the priority attached to Indian systems of medicine in the state and failure of its projection by the officers and officials at the helm of affairs at various levels. The immediate revamping of the entire department and shifting of officers /officials  from top to bottom , who have overstayed for more than five to ten years at one place of posting resulting into development of vested interests, corruption, favouritism and indiscipline in the department to which present Director has  miserably failed to control.  If not set right, the day is not far when there will be deep crisis in the management which has already manifested into the situations where a junior assistant dares to attack senior state level officer,   that too below the nose of Director at its headquarter as per the media reports published on 22 May this year.

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