Improving govt hospitals necessary to save precious lives

KARACHI: Improvement of government-run hospitals in Sindh province is necessary to save precious lives and in this regard the shortage of doctors, medicines and equipment in them should be met on priority basis.

People of Sindh have to rely on the government-run tertiary care hospitals of Karachi for treatment of serious illnesses as even the teaching hospitals of Larkana, Sukkur, Nawabshah, Mirpurkhas and Hyderabad do not enjoy the confidence of public due to the issues of mismanagement and shortage of modern equipment, labs and consultant doctors.

Many years back the governor of Sindh, Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan had announced to upgrade the district headquarter hospitals as teaching hospitals, but like so many other announcements of the rulers, this important decision could not be implemented as yet.

Recent incident of Shikapur bomb blast fully exposed the performance of the district headquarter hospitals of Sindh, because many injured died due to lack of prompt first-aid. Even the members of Sindh assembly pointed out the poor state of affairs in Civil Hospital Shikarpur when they discussed the issue previous day.

Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh, belonging to PML-F who represents Shikarpur, told the House that the Civil Hospital Shikarpur a “maqtalgahh.” He said it had no facilities of consultant doctors, technicians, blood, oxygen and ambulances. People shifted the bodies and injured in motorcycle rickshaws and donkey carts as no ambulance vans were available.

Sardar Ahmed of MQM said Sindh Health department gets ample funds but its performance is very poor. The provincial government should improve its governance.

Sorath Thebo of PML-N asked why the healthcare facilities were not provided in Shikarpur Civil Hospital. We also saw the same negligence when a Shikarpur-bound bus caught fire near Karachi and many innocent lives were lost.

Mahtab Akbar Rashidi of PML-F said ourgovernment hospitals are in very poor condition. There are not doctors, medicines and ambulances in them. The Sindh government should improve civic infrastructure in the whole province.

Amir Haider Shah Sherazi of PML-N said the government should ensure presence of doctors and medicines in government hospitals. The health minister should take notice of the poor performance of department. The Thar children deaths have already exposed the performance of Sindh health department and not the poor arrangements in Shikarpur hospital have told the whole story.

Nusrat Bano Seher Abbasi of PML-F regretted that ambulances were not present at a district headquarter level hospital and people rushed the injured and bodies to hospital on donkey carts and Chingchi rickshaws. Health department of Sindh has proved its failure. Even the conditions of the Civil Hospital Karachi are pathetically poor. For the injured of Shikapur, a private hospital of Sukkur came for the rescued and saved many lives. Shamim Mumtaz of PPPP and Rana Ansar of MQM also said the healthcare facilities should be improved. Muhammad Iftikhar Alam of MQM supported the demand that the government should improve the condition of its hospitals in whole province.

Muhammad Shaharyar Khan Mahar of PML-F said the Shikarpur tragedy exposed the Sindh health department. Even surgical cotton was not available in the hospital to dress the wounded people. This district hospital has not a single surgeon. Two months ago medicines worth Rs5million were stolen from the hospital but the matter was hushed up by the corrupt bureaucracy. More people died due to the lack of facilities in Shikarpur civil hospital than of bomb blast wounds, he claimed.

Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani of PPPP said the health department of Sindh must improve facilities in its hospitals. All government hospitals should have at leastthe basic facilities to cater emergency needs of patients.

Heer Soho of MQM said the government ambulances had even no petrol and citizens paid from their pocket to buy fuel for them. Nisar Ahmed Khuhro of PPPP said admitted there are weaknesses of infrastructure in the province. However, the past government did not play their due role in this regard.

Mehtab Hussain Dahar, Sindh health minister, said his department tired its best to provide all-out facilities to the injured. He said all is not well in the government hospitals but we are improving them. However, hi his speech he did not comment on the prevailing conditions of Civil Hospital Shikarpur and the position of doctors posted and facilities available there.

Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA), the two premier bodies of doctors have repeatedly demanded to upgrade the district headquarter hospitals as teaching hospitals so that the patients get better healthcare facilities at their doorstep and they have not to incur financial burden to shift their patients to Karachi, but the health department is yet to consider their demands.

The Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan and the health minister Dr Jam Mehtab Dahar should take efforts to give the teaching hospital status to all district headquarter level hospitals of the province on urgent basis in the larger public interest.

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