The doctors’ strike entered second week compounding suffering of patients in Hazara division. The protesting doctors were also joined by their colleagues from the two other teaching hospitals in Mansehra and Haripur districts, putting hundreds of patients at a potential health risk, while the government appears least bothered to resolve the issue.
“They should at least talk to the protesting doctors and work out a strategy to address their genuine concerns, even if it is not possible to agree with their entire list of demands,” said Abbottabad Executive District Officer Health Dr Zafeer Ahmed while talking to The Express Tribune. He said that the government was completely ignoring sufferings patients, who are denied proper treatment due to the doctors’ strike. He stressed the need for formation of a committee to resolve the issue on a war footing.
According to the Provincial Doctors Association, the strike is scheduled to be observed in three phases.
During the first phase, the strike was observed by doctors at Khyber Teaching Hospital, Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar and Ayub Teaching Hospital, Abbotabad.
In the second phase, doctors at other teaching hospitals joined them on Wednesday, which will continue for another week, and if the government does not meet their demands, the doctors’ fraternity across the province will observe a complete strike and refuse to attend emergency cases as well, said Dr Hasnain, an office bearer of PDA.
During visits to different teaching hospitals in Hazara, it was learnt that Ayub Teaching Hospital Abbottabad has OPD traffic around of 1,000 to 1,200 patients daily and 12 to 15 operations are conducted in the gynecology, surgery, ENT and eye departments, while four to five emergency operations are performed daily. At King Abdullah Teaching Hospital (KATHM), Mansehra, 1,500 patients are facilitated daily, with at least 10 operations conducted. Likewise, at Haripur District Headquarter Hospital, between 800 and 900 patients visit the OPD and the number of operations carried out daily is between five and eight.
Patients who were in need of surgical treatment were not admitted at these health facilities and most of them had to pay for the operations at private clinics, putting an even greater financial burden on them.
“We are unable to make both ends meet anyway, how are we to pay such high fees at private clinics?” asked Khaesta Khan, whose young daughter had an ENT problem.
Resham Jan from Battagram was cursing the doctors and the government for their apathetic attitude and said that these facilities were not meant for the poor.
However, doctors continue to maintain that they are working in the public interest.
“Although we are not registering new patients for ordinary surgeries, we are continuing to conduct operations on emergency patients. We are operating on four to five patients daily in real emergency cases. Also, the number of medical officers posted at the casualty department increased in order to facilitate the maximum number of patients”, claimed KATH Medical Superintendent Dr Niaz.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2011.
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