In the Indian controlled part of Kashmir, Muslims account for the largest of the three ethnic groups, making up a population of some 7 million out of 10.1 million. Since 1989, more than a dozen rebel groups have been fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with Pakistan. The conflict is concentrated in the Muslim north of Jammu and Kashmir State, in the Kashmir Valley, but affects also some of the districts in Jammu, notably those along the Line of Control (LoC).
Health indicators for Jammu and Kashmir are considered to be in the middle to upper range. However, these results can mask sharp differences within each state, where the most conflict-affected districts are, more health problems occur.
While urban centres were found to have adequate health care facilities, it is acknowledged that access to health and the quality of health services in remote areas are poor. The reasons for this situation include a lack of resources to undertake training or support primary health workers in the periphery, many skilled health staff have left the districts due to insecurity, low staff morale reflecting an unwillingness to work in isolated and insecure areas, lack of finance, training and support.
Female illiteracy rate is over 80 percent, and immunization coverage of below 16 percent. In addition, the percentage of births attended by skilled personnel was discovered to be far lower than the officially reported 47 percent. High incidences of disabilities in children can be attributed to reduced coverage of immunization campaigns and poor access to medical services. Once disabled they face even more challenges in access to health and rehabilitation services. These disabled people as well as those injured by landmines, have a limited access to prosthetic and orthotic rehabilitation centres: only two of them exist, both of them are based in Srinagar.
Women and children are the most vulnerable. The ongoing violence, daily intimidation and fear for missing relatives have a severe impact on their mental health. Their rights to education, health and employment are severely curtailed as a result of the ongoing violence. Large-scale unemployment coupled with the absence of social life has led to an intense feeling of frustration and despair among young people.
Crisis Aid aims to support the most vulnerable people to overcome their traumatic experiences, to provide them with better health conditions and facilitate all other humanitarian help necessary for their well-being. Please donate to our Kashmir Emergency Appeal now.