Coronavirus (310) Kashmir doctors unable to access information from the global healthcare community

2 April, 2020

Extracts from The New Humanitarian below. Full text: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2020/04/01/kashmir-internet-ban-...

--

In Kashmir, slow internet throttles doctors’ coronavirus response

‘An internet connection, especially in a pandemic, is like an eye to the emergency physician. Kindly, don’t blind us.’

A long-running ban on high-speed internet in Indian-administered Kashmir is hobbling efforts to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic, local doctors warn, as cases rise in a region that has already endured months of military clampdown...

Indian authorities restored low-speed 2G mobile internet in early March, but the limits on faster services remain. Kashmir’s doctors say the throttled internet speeds prevent them from accessing crucial advice from the global healthcare community.

“The other day, I was trying to download the coronavirus-prevention handbook released by the Alibaba Foundation in China but could not due to slow speeds,” said Shoaib Ahmed, a resident doctor at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital, one of the largest tertiary care centres in Kashmir.

Equipped with this information, he believes, doctors can avoid the mistakes other countries have made in battling the virus...

“This is so frustrating,” Iqbal Saleem, a professor of surgery at the Government Medical College in Kashmir’s largest city, Srinagar, wrote on Twitter after trying to download guidelines for intensive care management. It had taken him an hour to partially download the document.

Another doctor, Khawar Achakzai, said it took him an entire night to download a research paper to help him prepare for an upcoming shift in his emergency room at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh...

--

Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org