Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) Hospital Shabqadar is facing a shortage of medical staff and lacks basic health facilities.
The facility was founded in the 1950s as a civil hospital in Shabqadar and was one of the main health facilities. A large number of people from Mohmand Agency and Shabqadar would visit
During the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the hospital was upgraded to THQ hospital and new departments were constructed to expand services provided at the facility.
“However, the facilities are not up to the mark,” Naveed Mohmand, a local leader from Jamaat-e-Islami told The Express Tribune. “Even those who receive minor injuries are shifted to Peshawar for treatment.”
Turning a blind eye
Mohmand added locals protested over the lack of basic health facilities at the hospital during the blast at a court complex in Shabqadar.
“Protesting such situations is our right,” he said. “But it was disappointing to see Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai registering an FIR against the protesters instead of listening to our complaints.”
According to Mohmand, Tarakai and PTI MPAs are now creating hurdles in providing facilities at the hospital.
Rahmanullah Haqqani, who is an elected tehsil council member from the area, said, “Three posts for senior medical officers as well as posts for medical, surgical, ENT and eye specialists are vacant in the hospital.”
He added six medical officers at THQ Hospital Shabqadar are withdrawing salaries from the facility but are working at other hospitals. Haqqani said doctors along with many other employees are on long leaves.“However, they are working in their private clinics,” he said. “A local PTI MPA has hired his own workers in the hospital who also do not come to work and there are no check and balance to hold them accountable.”
He added, “The hospital’s generator and blood bank are non-functional.”
“The clinical lab has no facilities to test for diseases such as malaria and hepatitis,” he said. “The X-ray machines are also lying out of order. This makes it difficult for patients as they have to go elsewhere to get treatment.”
One of the two ambulances at the facility are also out of order. According to Haqqani, the other ambulance is in a state of disrepair.
Into the darkness
“Load-shedding at the hospital lasts for over 20 hours,” he said. “This renders doctors and staff helpless as they cannot use the machines.”
Haqqani said he held a meeting with a Pesco official along with the elders of the area to discuss the prolonged power outages at the hospital.
“However,” he said, “The Pesco official seemed least interested in the issue.”
He alleged Pesco officials are receiving huge amounts of money as bribe to provide uninterrupted power supply to marble factories and looms.
When contacted, district health officer Dr Muhammad Zafar admitted the hospital is facing countless problems.
“We have repaired the generator and will start to supply electricity to the hospital on a regular basis,” he said. “My team is looking into other problems at the facility.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2016.