Health affairs in a shambles despite govt’s tall claims

By Ali Ousat

Although the Punjab government has succeeded in implementing major health policies and taken effective steps for the completion of health projects, many schemes are still incomplete despite tall claims by the government.

On the other hand, the central Induction policy, which was introduced to break the monopoly of Young Doctors Association (YDA) in different hospitals, was much talked about all year round.

The residents of provincial capital witnessed at least 24 boycotts of OPDs in different hospitals and several road blockades.

The Punjab government believed that the CIP would provide specialised doctors in all disciplines and the decision cannot be reverted.

Incomplete projects

Unlike the CIP, if we look around overall situation of health sector, the patients in Punjab gained some benefits but there are also incomplete projects that were scheduled to be completed in 2016.

One of the many projects was the construction of Surgical Tower at Mayo Hospital that remained in limbo since nine years.

The government was least interested in completing this project. The other projects that remained incomplete included Fatima Jinnah Dental College, extension of Services Hospital OPD building and many others.

Viral threats

The Congo virus in Punjab created panic among the people especially cattle farmers as it claimed three lives in Punjab. However, since then no Congo virus victim was registered but doctors believed the government has failed to find out the origin of Congo virus and it is still posing threat.

The government could not eradicate dengue threats despite a series of campaigns. Hundreds of people became victim of dengue virus in 2016 and several more will continue to be infected with the virus, medical experts believe.

Emergency wards

The condition of emergency wards in all public sector hospitals is in bad shape. Patients are facing shortage of medicines, unhygienic conditions and lack of basic medical facilities that raise several questions over the government’s efficiency.

The 100-bed extension at Punjab Institute of Cardiology and the burns unit at Jinnah Hospital were some of the successful projects of the provincial health department.

Health care services: All DHQ hospitals to get CT scanners

Punjab Minister for Specialised Healthcare & Medical Education Khawaja Salman Rafique believed that 2016 was a successful year for health sector and the province remained polio-free which was a success on its own.

Future projects

Salman pointed out that construction of various development projects was underway and 500-bed teaching hospitals would be constructed at medical colleges in Sialkot, Gujranwala, Sahiwal and Dera Ghazi Khan districts.

He said the Drug Testing Laboratory in Lahore has been completed while the DTL of Multan will be upgraded. Moreover, Motorbike Ambulance Service is being introduced in Punjab for the provision of emergency medical aid, he said

He added revamping of 40 DHQ and THQ hospitals has been started. Besides, provision of CT scan facility at all the DHQ hospitals will be ensured. He claimed that Surgical Tower of Mayo Hospital and the phase-I of Pakistan Kidney & Liver Institute consisting of 300 beds would be completed in 2017.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2016.

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