ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Public Health Situation in J&K

We, the undersigned health activists, practitioners, networks, academics, and individuals express our deepest concerns regarding the recent arbitrary abrogation of key parts of Article 370 as well as Article 35A of the Constitution of India, the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and the loss of statehood. This was done without a semblance of consultation with the people of J&K, and in absolute contempt for constitutional and democratic processes.  

As health activists and practitioners, we are particularly concerned by several reports from the state that indicate the impact of the clampdown on people’s health. Access to healthcare facilities and essential medicines are affected; life-saving medicines are in short supply and stock-outs are already evident. News reports of the lack of transport, causing pregnant women to travel long distances on foot for delivery or not being able to make it to the hospitals, are extremely concerning. Patients suffering from cancer are finding it difficult to access life-saving chemotherapy. Patients on dialysis are unable to make it to the hospitals. On the other hand, patients discharged from hospitals are unable to return home due to lack of transport. The non-availability of other medicines is also evident. A fact-finding report states, “an asthmatic auto driver in Srinagar showed us his last remaining dose of asthalin. He had been trying for the past several days to buy more—but the chemists’ shops and hospitals in his area had run out of stocks.” Several people, including children, have been injured by pellet gunshots, with some having serious injuries. The implications for the mental health of the people residing in the state are extremely concerning. The severe distress, trauma, and the high levels of psychosocial stress that the people have been already experiencing are likely to worsen.

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