Gojal is one of the most neglected parts of Gilgit-Baltistan with regards to availability of health facilities. A ten-bedded hospital is the only modern center of health care that the government of Pakistan can offer to the seventeen thousand people of the largest Tehsil of northern areas. The hospital, deceptively well built, is run by a general physician, along with a number of male and female nurses. The doctor is not available to treat patients most of the time. He does not miss a single opportunity to elongate his leaves. Even if he is available there is dearth of life saving drugs and equipments.
Thanks to the efforts of Aga Khan Health Services, Pakistan, that runs three maternal and child care centers in different villages of Gojal valley, there has been a sharp decline in child and maternal mortality rate in the region. But it is a fact that the health centers run by AKHS are not properly staffed. Most of the centers are run by trained nurses who lack the legitimacy and expertise for performing major operations.
Patients, no matter how direly in need of quick treatment, have to be brought to Ali Abad, in Central Hunza, or Gilgit city. Many a times patients lose their lives en route to hospital.
There is a need to discuss the shamful health conditions faced by people of Gojal. Dollar yielding careers in multi-national development organizations can not be the yardstick for measuring collective human development. We can call ourselves a developed society only if we have the capacity to treat, and maybe cure, patients when they most need it. Otherwise we are making a fool of ourselves, collectively.