On the back burner: Gujar Khan THQ faces severe shortage of staff, funds

Only 17 doctors to cater to about 0.9 million people


Asad Malik January 24, 2016
Only 17 doctors to cater to about 0.9 million people.

GUJAR KHAN:


Gujar Khan Tehsil Headquarters Hospital (THQ) is faced with a severe shortage of medical and paramedical staff and funds to cater to thousands of visitors every day.


The hospital, which caters to a population of around 0.9 million in the tehsil, has only 17 doctors and 14 nurses to attend to around 1,200 patients every day.

Though the hospital has a laboratory, it does not have the facility of ELISA, hormone, and blood culture tests. The hospital receives more than 300,000 out-door patients annually but has a budget of only Rs5.1 million.

The THQ, which is the only public hospital in one of the largest tehsils in the country, has no blood bank either. Patients coming from far-off villages are often sent from pillar to post for a basic medical check-up.

Although the hospital has a pharmacy, but like all government-run hospitals, most patients are told to fetch the medicines from private medical stores.

There is only one doctor per shift in the emergency department, which receives 100-150 patients every day. If the doctor on duty has to perform a post-mortem, patients will only be checked when the next-shift doctor comes in. The emergency only provides first-aid and refer the rest to Rawalpindi.

The hospital has two ambulances but only one driver, who can take only one and two patients to Rawalpindi in a day.

THQ Medical Superintendent Dr Raja Pervez said the hospital’s operation theatre is unable to meet the patient load.

Dysfunctional trauma centre

Former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi had inaugurated a trauma centre at the hospital but it has been inoperative ever since. The plaques carrying the names of Elahi and the former Rawalpindi district nazim Raja Tariq Mehboob Kiani have also disappeared.

Currently, the centre houses the emergency department.

Locals feel betrayed

Locals say their successive representatives have failed to fulfil the promises they made with them. They said they were promised that the city would be elevated to the status of a district and a public university would be established but to no avail.

They have urged Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to immediately address the shortage of staff and funds at the THQ and make the trauma centre functional.

TRANSLATED BY ARSALAN ALTAF

Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th,  2016.

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