No specialists at police hospital, admits health minister

Dr Mandhro also says there are no laboratories to test dog, snake bites in Sindh

Our Correspondent January 19, 2018

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly session on Thursday was dominated by health issues. MPAs were informed that there are no specialist doctors at the lone police hospital in Karachi, which is to the detriment of ailing policemen.

During the question and answer session, Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro confessed to the lack of specialists at the police hospital in Garden are but justified this by saying it was under the administrative control of the health department. “Doctors and paramedics are posted by the health department there, however, as a stopgap arrangement,” he explained.

“The then medical superintendent of the hospital had sent a letter to the inspector-general of police and home department, requesting them to fill the vacant posts at the hospital and create more positions. I hope this issue is resolved soon,” he said in response to a question by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) MPA Kamran Akhtar.

Earlier, Akhtar had drawn the House’s attention towards the single government hospital in the city for policemen, saying it was devoid of all basic facilities. He said the situation at the hospital can be gauged by the fact that it cannot admit and treat patients and instead refers them to other hospitals.

"It is a historic and beautiful building but no one has made any efforts to appoint specialist doctors or trained staff there," he lamented.

Another health-related issue was raised by Pakistan Muslim League – Functional MPA Nusrat Seher Abbasi. She questioned whether there was any laboratory in the province to test dog and snake bites. The health minister replied that no such laboratory exists, however, there is an anti-snake venom and anti-rabies serology laboratory in Shaheed Benazirabad district. "This laboratory is producing high-quality anti-snake venom,” he told members of the House.

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman cited media reports that stated that there are 60,000 to 70,000 stray dogs in Karachi but except for Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), hospitals in the city did not stock anti-rabies vaccinations.

Responding to another question about the number of government hospitals under the administrative control of the Sindh government in Karachi, the health minister said, "There are a total of 18 hospitals in Karachi where 9,492 people are employed.” He said that Civil Hospital, Karachi is the largest hospital in the province in terms of staff as around 2,077 doctors and other staff members are employed there. Dr Mandhro went on to say that JPMC is the second largest with 1,757 employees while the National Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases is third with 1,366 employees.

When questioned about dengue cases reported in the province, the minister said there were 2,418 cases reported, of which 11 people died in 2016-17. Dr Mandhro told the MPAs that there are 159 blood banks in various districts of Sindh. "We have also established the Sindh Transfusion Authority, which is keeping an eye on blood banks. We will take action against those who violate the law," he vowed.

Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro informed the House that the government is conducting a survey of Karachi’s sewerage system with the help of the World Bank. He said a new system will be installed across the city.

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Naqeeb Mehsud killing

The death of Naqeeb Mehsud, who was gunned down in encounter with Malir SSP Rao Anwar, was also raised in the assembly. Zaman termed it an ‘extrajudicial murder’ and demanded justice for the victim’s family along with against SSP Anwar. "Before his killing, police in plainclothes entered [Mehsud’s] house and arrested the young man," said the MPA, adding that SSP Anwar is considered an ‘encounter specialist’ who kills innocent people.

"An inquiry must be initiated against him and till the inquiry report is submitted, he must be suspended," Zaman demanded.

Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza said that the home minister has already ordered an inquiry into the murder.

Before session was adjourned till today (Friday), the assembly adopted two resolutions condemning a rape case in Madran, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa where a minor girl was raped and killed a few days ago. The resolution moved by the Pakistan Peoples Party's Saira Shahliani. MQM's Heer Ismail Soho demanded the K-P government take strict action against the culprits involved.


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