PESHAWAR: The ground realities are very different from the tall claims made by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and its chief Imran Khan on providing access to social services in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Almost all officials associated with all social services departments, especially health and education, are displeased with the way affairs are flowing under the governance of PTI and its coalition partners. Not only opposition members but PTI’s own lawmakers have expressed disappointment over the performance of the government and have been asking Imran to intervene.
The overall performance of the government in the education sector could be judged by the results of secondary and higher secondary school certificate exams. The results reflected the outcome of public schools. It revealed that teaching at public schools was abysmal when compared with the standards of teaching at private schools. Similarly, government-run hospitals have failed to address the needs of patients and expectations of people.
When contacted, a senior doctor told The Express Tribune that the government tried to bring about reforms. However, the impact has remained unclear so far.
The doctor added teaching hospitals need attention and primary and secondary health care must also be strengthened. This can be achieved through pilot studies and effective implementation.
Free no more
The out-of-pocket expenses for patients have increased after changes at teaching hospitals. According to the doctor, these changes need to be reversed as a majority of the patients come from low-income backgrounds.
Moreover, leaders and stalwarts from different opposition parties in the province were also critical of what they called the deprivation of poor patients of free treatment at Lady Reading Hospital and other teaching hospitals.
Another doctor, associated with a teaching hospital, said that earlier a patient admitted in the emergency ward would get tests, X-rays and even surgeries done by just paying Rs10 for the entry. But now, he added, Rs10 can only obtain primary inspection and consultation from doctors in the casualty wards of teaching hospitals.
He and other hospital officials said patients are bound to deposit Rs230 to get treated in surgery wards after their check-up. Moreover, they said, patients need to admitted in medical wards costs Rs130.
However, the doctors confirmed that provision of free medicines was resumed starting August 20.
Before PTI and its coalition partners came into power, Imran and his colleagues were making tall claims of pulling the people of K-P out of crises and addressing problem related to health, education and other social services. In this respect, PTI leaders established over a dozen working groups comprising highly educated and experienced people. However, the outcomes of such endeavours remain disappointing. Some experts have even left their jobs and vacated the offices.
Sehat Ka Ittehad, a joint venture of PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, became successful due to Operation Zarb-e-Azb. It resulted in a sharp decline in polio cases throughout K-P and the adjoining tribal areas. However, outcomes of Sehat Ka Insaaf and other such schemes in the health and education sectors proved disappointing. It is the time for the government to realise its responsibilities to ensure maximum relief to people, especially in health and education sectors. If action is not taken with immediate effect, the reactions of disappointed circles will be much harsher.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2016.