ISLAMABAD: A plethora of issues from unhygienic conditions to misappropriation in medicines, blood banks and to irregularities in appointments in two major public hospitals in the federal capital echoed in a meeting of a parliamentary panel on Monday.
Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat members expressed their displeasure over the sorry state of affairs and apathy of healthcare staff of the hospitals.
Committee Chairman Senator Talha Mehmood questioned the appointment of Dr Iftikhar Naro, a grade-19 officer, as Polyclinic executive director against whom a case of misuse of position was being heard in Supreme Court.
The ED had allegedly awarded medicine and oxygen contracts to a private company owned by him and his wife. The appointment was made ignoring five grade-20 doctors for the position.
The chairman remarked that the day the probe was initiated against Dr Naro, he was appointed in violation of rules.
He also said blood bags were being sold at Polyclinic; the Federal Investigation Agency seized medicines of both the hospitals from Peshawar and Quetta, he added.
The senator said he had confessional statements of various people regarding the matter.
“The environment of Pims is so untidy and polluted that even a healthy person comes out with various infections after visiting the hospital,” Senator Tanvir Khan said.
“The cooling system of the hospital is dysfunctional and despite having 265 sweepers and 50 gardeners on its strength the hygiene of the hospital is not up to the standards,” Khan said.
Even the VVIP area has become a cat breeding place, he said.
Responsible people must be sent to jail, he remarked.
The committee members unanimously recommended to issuing show-cause notices to officials responsible for maintaining cleanliness and to take strict action against those not doing their jobs.
State Minister for CADD Tariq Fazal Chaudhry responded that the deterioration of affairs at Pims was due to its merger with Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU). Administration of Pims and the university cannot be merged, he added.
The division had appointed a competent officer, Dr Fazle Maula, as administrator of the hospital but was repatriated in the light of Supreme Court orders regarding deputation.
After seeing the precarious condition of both the hospitals, the minister said, it has been decided to build three new hospitals in the capital.
The matter of regularisation of employees of National Institute of Health also came under discussion.
The committee suggested regularising over 150 contractual employees.
A two-member committee was formed to present a report on the matter after meeting the employees.
Senator Kalsoom Perveen and the university Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Javed Akram are part of the committee.
Parveen said the population of Islamabad has increased to 2.2 million and the two hospitals endure the load of not only its population but patients coming from all over the country. Now there is a need to build new hospitals instead of enhancing their capacity, she added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2016.