In yet another step towards revolutionizing the healthcare ecosystem in the UT, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Thursday inaugurated 10-bed state-of-the-art Palliative/Geriatric Care Wards in all districts of Jammu & Kashmir.While congratulating the Health department for creating the much-needed facility, the Lt Governor said the landmark step bridges a decades-old void in our healthcare system by offering dedicated facilities to elderly and critically-ill ageing patients, ensuring their dignity and quality of life.The Lt Governor observed that the need for accessible, effective geriatrics and palliative care has grown over the past several decades, but remained unaddressed in J&K.“The Palliative/Geriatric Care, which I had the pleasure to inaugurate today, demonstrates another social dimension. It places the care of the elderly as a top priority of the entire healthcare ecosystem in our quest towards building a strong, prosperous, and caring UT”, said the Lt Governor.Speaking on the transformation taking place in the health sector of J&K, the Lt Governor said that the government is introducing new reforms for developing a balanced healthcare ecosystem that promotes social equality, besides ensuring easily accessible quality health facilities for all.This important stride in the healthcare sector truly symbolizes Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of self-reliance, achieving excellence in modern health facilities for remote locations, and reducing the urban-rural divide to deliver services at people’s doorstep, added the Lt Governor.“Our efforts to reform the health sector have been impressive. We have addressed the health infrastructure issue with a comprehensive and long-term national vision under the guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister and even the far-flung areas now have adequate, affordable, and reliable healthcare facilities”, said the Lt Governor.New infrastructure has been built at a cost of Rs 7177 crore; 140 projects have been completed by spending Rs 881 crore to strengthen basic health facilities in all the districts. Moreover, Rs 7873 crore has been allocated for the health sector in this year’s budget, which will create unprecedented health facilities in the UT, added the Lt Governor.The Lt Governor expressed gratitude to the Doctors, paramedics, healthcare workers for their tireless contribution towards making J&K a leading UT in Covid management and vaccination in the country.‘To serve the one in need is our culture. We must dedicate ourselves to the service of mankind with responsibility, compassion, and utmost sensitivity and make the healthcare facilities easily accessible to all’, observed the Lt Governor.On the occasion, the Lt Governor also called upon departments implementing various social welfare schemes to be proactive to the needs and issues of the elderly. “It is the responsibility of all to make them aware of this new facility which is available in the district hospital. The success of this historic initiative will be fully realized when no person has to wander for treatment, and the administration itself reaches out to the needy”, he underscored.Sh Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to Lt Governor congratulated the Health functionaries for establishing special care wards for elderly patients and called for effective utilization of the said facility.Dr Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary emphasized on creation of old-aged care homes, on similar lines to Palliative & Geriatric Care with a 360-degree approach for better care of the elderly population. He further suggested healthy competition amongst the hospitals in terms of maintenance and patient experience.Sh Vivek Bhardwaj, Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department, in his welcome address, underscored the efforts of the department for creating Palliative/Geriatric Care facilities in all District Hospitals of the UT of J&K.Dr Saleem Ur Rehman, Director General, Family Welfare MCH & Immunization presented the Vote of Thanks.Choudhary Mohammad Yasin, Mission Director National Health Mission; Sh Anshul Garg, DC Jammu; Dr Shashi Sudhan Sharma, Principal GMC; Dr Shakti Gupta, Director AIIMS Jammu; Medical Superintendents and Doctors from all Districts of the UT were present on the occasion, in person and through virtual mode, at Government Hospital Gandhi Nagar.