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Health department only has 12 doctors for Rawalpindi’s 78 dispensaries

Health department only has 12 doctors for Rawalpindi’s 78 dispensaries

RAWALPINDI: The Health Department only has 12 doctors for its 78 dispensaries in the Rawalpindi district of which only 24 are active. Most of the dispensaries are being run by dispensers.

A senior Health Department official told Dawn on Friday that of the 78 dispensaries in the Rawalpindi district, 26 are in the city areas, 47 in the rural areas and five in Murree.

“Of the 24 active dispensaries, 12 are run by doctors and the rest by dispensers who also give medicines to patients in the absence of doctors,” he said.

The official said there is also a shortage of paramedical staff in dispensaries. According to the rules, a nurse, midwife and a dispenser have to be appointed in each dispensary.

The dispensaries run by doctors include those in Sirajia Park, Banni, Akalgarh, Millat Colony, Chaklala, Dhala, Ghora Gali, Mandra, Dhama Syedan and Kalian.

The ones which are looked after by dispensers include those in Siakrana, Adwal, Kaliam Awan, Basali, Chak Jalal Din, Gangal, Dhoke Ratta, Ratta Amral, Sarfraz Road, Bohar Bazaar and Lower Bazaar Murree.

Doctors said these dispensaries were working under the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation and the district council and that they were handed over to the District Health Authority after the change in the local bodies system in 2002, which refused to absorb the staff or recruit new staff.

They said 432 doctors, including 32 in Rawalpindi, joined the department in 1990 under the 1983 rules and that they worked in municipal corporations and district councils till 2001.

These doctors worked as district officers health till Dec 2016 when a new local government system was introduced after which the doctors do not have a department to work under.

On the other hand, patients have to visit the three government-run hospitals for illnesses which could have been treated at dispensaries, which also overburdens the hospitals.

Sources said between 100 and 120 patients visit dispensaries daily and that these do not have the capability of dealing with emergencies or conducting basic pathological tests including those requiring blood, urine or ultrasounds.

Asghar Ali, a resident of Dhoke Dalal said there is need to upgrade dispensaries and make them functional again. He said people would go for minor ailments such as fevers, cough and colds, for checking their blood pressure and getting medicines for minor injuries to dispensaries in the past.

“Now, they have to go to a hospital for these,” he said.

“There are five doctors for the 26 dispensaries in the city the reason for which was that neither the local government nor the Health Department will own the staff. No recruitments were made the last 18 years,” District Officer Health Dr Tahir Ahmed said.

He said the department will equip these dispensaries with the latest medical facilities for emergencies and that basic health units in the rural areas are providing better healthcare facilities to low-income families.

Punjab Local Government Board Secretary Ahmed Haseeb Mian said the dispensaries had been handed over to the district health authorities across the province and that a summary had been moved to the Punjab chief minister about the future of doctors.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2018

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