Sindh struggles to improve healthcare facilities in rural areas

Karachi: Sindh government has been trying for long to improve healthcare facilities in rural areas by upgrading the district headquarter level hospitals, but the desired results are yet to be obtained, and people have to travel to Karachi to get medical treatment incurring huge expenses.

Though the provincial health department is spending billions of rupees every year on a large number of hospitals, dispensaries and basic health centers in Sindh but the trickle-down effect is not felt by poor patients of the rural areas. In almost all district level hospital the facilities to treat emergency and trauma patients are not available. Such patients are first referred to teaching hospitals of Larkana, Sukkur, Nawabshah and Hyderabad, and some of them after wasting time and money in these ill-managed medical college hospitals find their way to either Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) or Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) that have already been overburdened.

A decade back the government of Sindh has planned to establish burns centers in government-run teaching hospitals of the province, but till to date not a single such burns center could be made functional. It is not that the government of Sindh is not sincere to provide healthcare facilities to citizens but it does not have the required number of honest bureaucrats and competent and dedicated medical professionals in government sector to meet this challenge. Like other government departments of Sindh, health department also teems with corruption, inefficiency and mismanagement.

The health department of Sindh should make it mandatory for professors and doctors of interior Sindh to serve mandatory for at least a month in a year in the reputed institutes like the Burns Center Civil Hospital Karachi, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplant (SUIT) or the Chest Department of Prof Nadeem Rizvi at the JPMC to learn the skills of hospital management, discipline and patient care. Professors and doctors of the teaching hospitals of Larkana, Sukkur, Nawabshah and Hyderabad need to learn how be role models in their professions and be the pioneers of badly needed elite healthcare institutes in rural Sindh to serve the masses of these backward and neglected areas.