Inefficiencies in healthcare system

By and large Healthcare system has deteriorated both on preventive and curative sides. While presiding over a meeting on the current situation of healthcare in the tribal districts of former FATA, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Health Minister Dr. Hisam Inam Ullah Khan directed health department officials to submit a report on health infrastructure in the merged districts. The report is sought to remove the inefficiencies in the available health cover and introduce reforms to ensure quality health services to the people in these areas.

The much talked about health sector reforms in the province are confined to curative cover in four MTI hospitals alone and preventive system is non-existent. The outbreak of Dengue fever every year, rising number of cases of Lashmania fever in the tribal district of Khyber and its current epidemic in Karak and Nowshera districts expose the total neglect of preventive aspect of healthcare for the people.

On the curative side, three MTI hospitals of capital city of Peshawar and one in Abbotabad are fully functional in terms of specialist doctors, equipments and paramedics. The MTI hospitals in Kohat, Bannu, Dera Ismiel Khan, Mardan and Sawat have certain deficiencies with regards specialist doctors and equipments. That is why patients are referred from these hospitals to the ones in Peshawar for relatively better treatment. The existing MTI hospitals in Peshawar are bursting with patients and have no room for further expansion in infrastructure. By virtue of his rich experience in health department from the position of section officer, the then Health Secretary Abid Majeed had assessed that the Capital City needs four more MTI level hospitals and suggested that Moulvijee hospital and Naseerullah Babar Hosptials can be upgraded to cater to rush of patients. But instead appreciating his assessment he was shown the door. The prevailing situation is that patients wait for months to undergo routine surgeries in the three MTI hospitals.

The condition of District Head quarter and Tehsile Headquarter hospitals is far from satisfactory. These hospitals do not have fully trained specialist doctors and paramedics. In most of the hospitals paramedics of one cadre is adjusted against a vacancy of another cadre for the purpose of drawing salary. Power breakdowns and electricity load shedding of longer duration are daily phenomena. These hospitals of secondary healthcare either lack the facility of petrol-gas generators or don have the budgetary allocation for the purchase of fuel. The situation in Rural Health Centers and Basic Health Units catering for primary healthcare is worse.

In each tribal district one headquarters level hospital had been built which lacked the required number of specialist doctors and trained paramedics in addition to the dearth of equipments. These hospitals are functioning like referral centers. In the far-flung areas of the tribal districts primary healthcare network had not been established in the shape of Rural Health Centers and Basic Health Units.

Most often the hospitals in the province are faced with dearth of vaccines and medicines. The available health infrastructure needs to be made fully functional by overcoming all deficiencies by providing fully trained doctors, paramedics and equipments. Moreover, the district and subdivision level hospitals should pharmacies to provide necessary medicines in emergency treatment.

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