Baby steps: Children’s hospital looking to expand emergency services

Published: May 4, 2012

The 30-bed casualty receives about 300 patients a day. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: 

The National Institute of Child Health (NICH) is working on expanding its emergency services with the help of a non-government organisation.

The 30-bed casualty receives about 300 patients a day but there is always work to be done as it is open round-the-clock, explained director Dr Jamal Raza.

While he declined to give the name of the NGO as the proposal is still in the works, Dr Raza said that they had proposed using the empty lab area at the hospital to make room for more beds with its help.

The NGO will also possibly help improve the existing resources in the emergency department and assist patients who cannot afford treatment. NICH’s annual budget is about Rs300 million and Dr Raza was unwilling to give a specific number for how much NGOs financially support the hospital.

Several departments are already supported by different NGOs. They include the blood bank, burns ward, cancer unit, intensive-care unit, tuberculosis unit and pharmacy.

NGOs working with the hospital include the Child Aid Foundation, Sada Welfare Foundation, Atfaal Welfare Society, Child Growth Society of Pakistan, Children First, The Society, Rotary Club of Karachi Continental, and Shahsons Pvt. Ltd.

For instance, the Child Aid Foundation provides for the 40-bed cancer ward. It manages the oncology unit, as well as the Cytogenetics laboratory, which it helped set up in 2007. In addition, the foundation also supports patients at the surgical, nephrology and endocrinology units, in the shape of donations of operating equipment, disposable equipment for dialysis, medicines and laboratory tests.

Also, some time back, Children First, The Society adopted the entire ICU ward. It has so far donated a ventilator and five multipara monitors. For the past three years, the NGO has been supplying medicines for the ICU, in particular to patients struggling with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which is an inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves of the brain and the spinal cord. The approximate cost of this treatment is Rs120,000 per child and increases according to the weight of the patient, making the treatment expensive and unaffordable for most families. Children First, The Society has saved the lives of 89 children to date.

Similarly, Sada Welfare Foundation helps run the blood bank, neonatal unit and TB clinic at NICH.  According to its figures, the foundation has helped a total of 8,100 TB patients, supported 285,000 patients with blood donations and 49,900 patients in the neonatal unit in ten years. The foundation also arranges for the support of cardiac patients who need surgery, with the help of Dr Najma Patel of the National Institute of Cardio-Vascular Diseases (NICVD).

Dr Raza clarified that these and other NGOs are basically providing patient support services in the form of financial aid for expensive tests, medicines, while the treatment is managed by the staff and doctors.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2012.

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