Chief Justice visit of LRH
PTI government’s myth of change, building of institutions and marvelous performance exploded and dissolved in thin air when the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar visted the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) and heard peoples complaints there besides listening to public grievances in the courtroom. The PTI leadership used to lambast the PML-n government in the Centre and Punjab for ignoring healthcare and education but when it came to the performance KP government it was also found utterly unsatisfactory.
The Chief Justice received a lot of complaints about the lack of treatment facilities at LRH, the largest teaching hospital Khyber Puktunkhwa. The level of hardship being faced by the people five years ago is the same and PTI failed in fulfillment of its promise of bringing improvement in service delivery system, the complainants revealed. Despite sane advices from different quarters and resistance, of doctors, the PTI provincial government enforced the MTI Act without properly evaluating its fall outs on the functioning of teaching hospitals. It created an administrative vacuum in LRH and Hayatabad Medical Complex. The cost of indoor and out door treatment went up. The Insaf Health Card holders prefer treatment in private hospitals because the specialist doctors do not come to OPD during working hours and do institution based practice in the afternoon in which they charge more medical examination fee from patients as compared with their counterparts who run private clinics. The in charge of Endocrinology Ward of Hayatabad Medical Complex Dr. Aimer Mazhar behaves like Pharos incarnate in the 21st Century with patients and their attendants. Negative attitude is all pervading in the two MTI hospitals. Interestingly, a fake doctor was doing job in this hospital but no action was taken in the matter when enquiry was conducted after the media hype. It was hushed up.
Before the enforcement of MTI ACT the teaching hospitals used to provide internship to Biochemistry students or give them access to the required data for research on the formal communications of Professors of Public Sector Universities. The Medical Superintendents provided research facilities to universities’ students enabling them to complete their work on time. But as there is no administration worth the name in MTI hospitals now, therefore, the specialist doctors and the Directors of Research are accountable to none. They straight away throw the official letters from government universities to the dust bin.
Health Secretary is the principal Accounting Officer of Health Department but taxpayers’ money is lavishly thrown into MTI hospitals without his concurrence which is a gross violation of cannons of audit and accounts. Funds to the tune of 600 million rupees were doled out with a single stroke of pen to LRH despite the fact that the hospital has no capacity for the expansion of health infrastructure. It is bursting with patients but the released funds are not utilized on improvement in health facilities. According to a news story, the incumbent health secretary is keen to get the approval for the establishment of new hospitals for the Capital City of Peshawar but it does not seem to the priority of the ruling political leadership. It is pertinent to mention that during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the international NGOs had established full fledged hospitals in rented building with state-of-the-art surgical and medical facilities for outdoor patients and indoor treatment of war victims. If there is a will there is a way. But the ruling leadership of KP has no will to set up more hospitals for the increasing number of patients.
The dismal performance of the government further came to light when the Chief Secretary of the province revealed certain facts in a straightforward manner and did not resort to bureaucratic anglings and tactics during the hearing of public grievances in the courtroom before the Chief Justice. He told that the waste generated in the city is thrown into the canals, ignoring the fact that children of poor families’ takes bath in canal water during summer. He also informed the Chief Justice that garbage is dumped in an open ground which lay there for want of any mechanism of its disposal. Hollow rhetoric does not bring any change because actions speak louder than words. The leadership of PTI is not different from that of statuesque protecting political parties save the exception in the persona of minister for Primary and Secondary Education Department.