Public-funded Pims emergency clinic delayed without reasonPakistan
ISLAMABAD: The emergency filter clinic, built with public donations in the government-run Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), remains locked for no good reason.
It was a bright initiative of the young doctors of teaching hospital who wanted to relieve their emergency department of the burden of the nearly 2,000 people brought daily, though most of them do not need emergency treatment.
They started the filtering process in the parking lot of Pims but that drew criticism. They turned to philanthropists and collected public donations for a building and completed the project in May this year. But the facility has remained shut for inexplicable reasons.
Some members of the Pims staff think that the glare of publicity that inaugurating the good work provides may be behind the delay. Many believe that indeed a particular political personality wants to inaugurate the facility but cannot spare time for that.
Pims Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram confirmed that the filter clinic has been ready for a couple of months but said the Minister of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) should be asked what is delaying its inauguration.
Minister CADD Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry denied to Dawn that any political personality was behind the delay and assured the clinic will be inaugurated during the current month.
In the meantime, the utility of the clinic and the construction of its building with donations from philanthropists, health organizations and doctors, have silenced the critics of the idea. It is estimated to reduce the burden of Pims’ emergency department.
“Around 2,000 patients report to the emergency department daily,” said a doctor of Pims. “What to say of beds, the department finds it impossible to provide them chairs to sit.”
In any case, a large number of them are found in no real need of emergency treatment and are discharged after checkups reveal the minor nature of their complaints.
“It is unfortunate that now that a proper filter clinic has been built to decrease the load on emergency department, it stands idle,” said the doctor requesting anonymity.
“We have been hearing that a political personality is keen to inaugurate the clinic but has not found time to do that yet. There could be some other reason for the delay but it is the ordinary people who are suffering the delay,” he said.
“All over the country, the sick complain about lack of equipment in the hospitals but here an equipped facility is being kept dysfunctional,” he added.
Unlike the suffocation a visitor feels in state-run hospitals, the Dawn correspondent found the filtering clinic in Pims spacious and airy.
Media coordinator of Pims Dr Waseem Khawaja said the clinic is staffed by a casualty medical officer, medical post graduates and nurses. It has X-Ray, ECG, Ultrasound, and resuscitate/emergency rooms. There are male and female wards with 10 beds each, a laboratory collection point and office for administrators.
“Patient registration counter is located near the entrance of the filter clinic and nurses’ station in the middle of the hall with ready stocks of injections and bandages etc for dressing of wounds,” he said.
Patients and their attendants will find proper sitting arrangement in the hall, cooled by 12 air conditioners and with two LEDs to entertain them.
“Moreover, 30 nebulizers have been fixed there for people with allergy, asthma, chest infection problems,” said the Pims official. A doctor, however, thought the filter clinic, constructed at a cost of Rs20 million, should have 150-strong staff “to run smoothly”.
“Its inauguration was planned for 23rd March but the project got delayed. But further delay is unjustified,” he said.
Dr Javed Akram seemed to agree when he told Dawn that the filter clinic should be inaugurated as soon as possible. “I have talked to (CADD Minister) Dr Chaudhry many times about it but the date of the inauguration could not be finalised,” he said.
Minister Chaudhry offered two reasons for the delay. “The first is that some of the equipment of the clinic took time to be arranged. And the second reason is that the Administrator of the hospital Dr Fazal-e-Mola, who played vital role in collection of donations, was removed,” he said.
“It is a very good step by the philanthropists who have requested not to be named. The project will be inaugurated in current month,” he said, asking media “to praise such projects so that more people come forward to help start similar projects”.
Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2016