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Accident-prone Kalka-Shimla NH lacks healthcare facilities

Accident-prone Kalka-Shimla NH lacks healthcare facilities


Tribune News Service

Ambika Sharma

Solan, March 15

The absence of basic healthcare facilities on the accident-prone Kalka-Shimla National Highway (NH-5) has become a cause for concern for local residents and commuters.

Lack of facilities at the Dharampur-based Community Health Centre (CHC) on this highway was badly felt recently, when five persons lost their lives and four pedestrians were grievously injured in a road accident. Apart from primary care, the centre could not offer much to the hapless accident victims. They had to be referred to a private medical hospital at Sultanpur, about 15 km away, and to the PGI in Chandigarh.

Trauma centre needed

  • Lack of facilities at the Dharampur-based Community Health Centre was badly felt recently, when five persons lost their lives and four pedestrians were grievously injured in a road accident
  • Successive state governments have stressed the need to set up a trauma centre on this highway, but no concrete step has been taken so far

With limited staff and lab facilities, the staff could just administer first-aid before referring the cases to better hospitals. Successive state governments have stressed the need to set up a trauma centre on this highway, but no concrete step has been taken so far. This poor state of affairs continues despite the fact that three health ministers in the past 15 years — two from the BJP and the incumbent health minister from the Congress — have been from Solan district but the much-needed trauma centre has failed to come up.

An analysis of the road accident figures reveals that more than 50 per cent mishaps have taken place on the national highways in the district. Of the 178 accidents that took place in the district, except the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh belt, last year, as many as 91 occurred on the NHs, in which 21 persons lost their lives and 148 were injured. This year, 16 of the 23 accidents occurred on the NHs, killing eight persons and injuring 20.

Despite the high rate of injuries and deaths, the authorities have not woken up to take steps to ensure adequate medical facilities on the national highway. The first half an hour after an accident is the most crucial time to save lives. However, this time is lost in shifting critically injured patients to advanced medical centre. This delay often proves fatal for the injured.

Solan CMO Dr Rajan Uppal said, "A trauma centre will be set up in the new hospital building being built on the Kather bypass in Solan. The building is being built in phases. Once completed, a trauma centre will be set up in it."

A trauma centre was announced by Union Minister of State for Health Santosh Chowdhary during her brief stint in the UPA government but it proved a hollow promise.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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