Pakistan News

Taxila THQ hospital — a picture of neglect

Taxila THQ hospital — a  picture of neglect

TAXILA: The shortage of doctors, especially gynecologist, surgeon, woman medical officer, and other facilities in public hospitals in Taxila and Wah Cantt has made a mockery of the Punjab government’s health sector reforms programme.

The tehsil headquarters hospital which caters to over 50,000 population of Taxila, comprising over 14 villages, has become a picture of neglect, forcing patients to turn to private doctors and hospitals for treatment and tests on exorbitant rates.

The sorry state of affairs shows that the city population lacks a credible preventive health cover, making the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) almost impossible.

The MDGs in the health sector will ensure high quality services including family planning, antenatal and postnatal care, skilled delivery and emergency obstetric care by 2015.

At the THQ hospital Taxila, the posts of gynecologist, child specialist, surgeon and two female medical officers have been vacant for long.

Sources said due to the absence of any woman medical officer, the maternity department was being run by nurses and midwives.

A large number of female patients at the hospital told this correspondent that nurses and midwives were playing with their lives.

The hospital also lacks other facilities, including beds, stretchers and wheelchairs. In case of some complication during a delivery, the patient is rushed to nearby military hospitals.

Under the MDGs targets, Pakistan is required to reduce the maternal mortality rate to 123 deaths per 100,000 live births and under-five mortality ratio to 41 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2015.

The establishment of a fully-fledged eye, pathology and radiology departments in the hospital is also the need of the hour so that the residents of Taxila and Wah Cantt can get better health care under the Punjab government health sector reforms programme.

Patients mostly from poor financial background also bemoan lack of medicines in hospital.

Shamim, an indoor patient, told this correspondent that the elite of the area received medical treatment at the private sector or military hospitals whereas ordinary citizen could afford only public sector hospital which lacked even basic facilities.

She said the public hospital did not have a trauma centre and surgery facilities.

Abdul Waheed, another patient, said the affluent, including members of parliament had nothing to do with this hospital, so they are hardly bothered by the lack of facilities in the hospital.

Another patient, Khan Mohammad, said the hospital did not have even funds for fuel to run its ambulances and if patients had to be shifted to Rawalpindi hospitals they had to arrange petrol for the ambulance from their own pocket.

Medical Superintendent (MS) THQ hospital Dr Mohammad Shahid said the surgeon and gynecologist had resigned due to unknown reasons while the child specialist and medical officer were on long leave.

When contacted, District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Mohammad Rafeeq said the health department was trying to fill the vacant posts in the hospital, especially that of the gynecologist, surgeon and woman medical officers. However, despite advertising the posts, no potential candidate turned up for the interview.

In reply to a question, he said the department was considering filling the posts by borrowing staff from other stations to meet the urgent need of trained medical staff at Taxila.

Social and public circles said on the one hand the Punjab government in collaboration with Unicef and others had launched a safe motherhood initiative and on the other hospitals in the rural areas were working without adequate staff and facilities.

The residents asked the chief minister to provide basic medical facilities and remove shortage of medicines and staff in the hospital.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2015

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