Primary healthcare system in new avatar: NCD patients set to get free medicines, diagnostic tests

Srinagar, Dec 16: Patients suffering from non-communicable diseases (NCD) have a reason to smile as Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to provide them free medicines, conduct free diagnostic tests and hold regular community level follow-ups under one roof.

 Thanks to ‘National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke (NPCDCS)’, the government has decided to augment primary healthcare centers so that patients will receive all facilities under one roof that too free of cost.

NCD including cardio vascular diseases, diabetes, chest respiratory diseases (COPD/Asthma) and cancer is fast spreading its tentacles among the people in Kashmir.

Official documents accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that under NPCDCS, primary health care centers will profile all community members above 30-years of age. “The modifiable risk factors will be identified in them and digitally recorded through electronic formats,” the documents read

The primary health centers will have an access to free drugs, diagnostic tests, and community level follow ups.

As per figures of the National Health Mission Kashmir there are 2,068 sub centers, 605 primary health centers and 49 urban primary health centers in Kashmir. Presently these facilities are available in 152 centers only.

An official at National Health Mission said NCDs cause significant morbidity and mortality both in urban and rural population, with considerable loss in potentially productive years (aged 35-64 years) of life.

 “The plan is to develop a comprehensive primary health care system in order to reduce morbidity, disability and mortality,” he said

State Programme Manager for NPCDCS, Dr Rashid Para said non-communicable diseases especially diabetes and hypertension have become a common place in the valley.

“People here have to understand these are dreaded killers and pose a huge financial and emotional burden on a person who develops these diseases. NPCDCS will not only create awareness on NCDs among the masses but also help them to manage and tackle those under proper medical supervision”, he said.

Dr Para noted that the mid-levels workers at various health centers are presently undergoing a six-month bridge course at the University of Kashmir. “They are being trained on how to implement the objectives under the programme,” he added.

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