In the border district of Poonch, approximately 250 kilometers from Jammu, several communities do not have access to basic healthcare facilities. Many villages are devoid of any health centres and if they are present, their effectiveness is limited due to the shortage or unavailability of staff, insufficient medicines, and infrastructure problems, among others. This means that for a medicine as basic as paracetamol, villagers have to walk four kilometres up and down the hilly trail.
Gani is one such village tucked away in the mountains, at the border. Due to cross-border conflict, shelling and firing during ceasefire violations are not uncommon. Caught between the fire are the villagers. Many lives are lost on the spot while others—who get injured due to cross-border firing—die due to lack of healthcare services in the area.
Muhammad Khadim, the head of Gani and a private school teacher, says, “If someone gets injured during the cross-border firing, how can we get them to the hospital? We have to try to stay inside and not become a victim ourselves.”
According to the villagers, a request for a local medical dispensary has been raised several times with the concerned authorities but no action has been taken so far.
Azkhar Ahmed Fami is a resident of Chhatral village, Tehsil Mendhar, District Poonch, Jammu and Kashmir. The original story was published by Charkha Features.
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