Poonch, July 16
A shortage of ambulance drivers has been alleged to be the main reason behind the death here in Poonch district’s Mendher subdivision of a pregnant woman, who could not be rushed fast enough to a hospital in an ambulance for there was no one to drive it. Most of the 22 ambulances have been lying unused due to a shortage of drivers in Mendhar subdivision for the last more than four months.
Only four ambulance drivers have been posted by the health authorities in the subdivision near the Line of Control.
Rukhsana Kousar, 35, died on June 24 while being shifted to a sub-district hospital in Mendhar from a public health centre in Mankote in a load carrier because there was no ambulance driver. The doctor and the pharmacist were also allegedly absent from the PHC when the patient arrived there for treatment. Action has been recommended against both by the block medical officer. “There is no doubt that we are running short of ambulance drivers … ambulances are available in all PHCs and health sub-centres in the subdivision. Most of them provided by members of the panchayati raj institution (PRI),” Block Medical Officer (Mendhar) Javid Choudhary said.
He said every effort was being made to ensure that the critical care patients and pregnant women didn’t face any issue. According to sources in the health department, many ambulance drivers had left four months ago, alleging they were not being paid their salaries regularly.
Imran Zaffer, District Development Council member from Mankote tehsil, which along with Balakote tehsil also comes under the subdivision, called the lack of drivers and the death because of it unfortunate. Zaffer said he had already raised the issue with the Poonch deputy commissioner.
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