Health facilities: Top court seeks details of hospitals in capital’s rural areas

Published: November 14, 2018
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 PHOTO: FILE/DFID

PHOTO: FILE/DFID

ISLAMABAD: The apex court on Tuesday directed the federal health ministry to submit a detailed report about the hospitals being built in the rural areas of the federal capital.

The top civic agency of the federal capital was directed to resolve land issues for the NIRM hospital and the nursing university within 15 days.

The directions were issued as a three-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, heard a case regarding the plight of hospitals in Islamabad.

During Tuesday’s hearing, CJP Nisar asked how many hospitals are required to service the rising population of Islamabad?

The health secretary told the court that they have listed the facilities available in every hospital in the federal capital in their report.

He noted that the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), with 1,150 beds, was the largest hospital in the city. Expansion projects approved for the hospital are expected to be completed within the next two to three years. Moreover, he said that around 1,000 staffers in various positions and departments are being hired in Pims on court orders with candidates currently undergoing interviews.

The health secretary further told the court that Japan had expressed its willingness to upgrade the Mother-Child Hospital.

Further, the court was told that there is a 200-bed hospital in the Chak Shehzad area of the capital which serves the rural population.

Further, a 200-bed hospital is being built at Taramiri Chowk to serve the rural population.

The health secretary added that they planned to build a 160-bed hospital for the National Institute of Rehabilitative Medicine (NIRM). The officials added that they had paid to acquire 4,000 square feet of land for the hospital in 2005, but the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has yet to hand over possession of the land.

Furthermore, the health secretary remarked that in 2014, Bahrain’s king took an interest in the health department and promised money for constructing a nursing university in the capital.

The government allocated 237 kanals of land for the project as well but the possession of the land has yet to be given. The health secretary explained that the Bahrain government had imposed the condition that the land should be transferred to the university and only then funds for the project would be issued.

The health secretary told the court that the Federal Government Hospital (Polyclinic) has 545 beds.

At this, CJP Nisar remarked that the hospital had been built in 1960, did you not know that this hospital had to be extended?

The health secretary replied once the extension project of the hospital was complete, its capacity would double to 1,100.

He added that the CDA had allocated the Argentina Park to build the extension block, however the matter has ground to a halt since the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has issued a stay on construction following petitions from area residents who have raised multiple concerns ranging from the adverse impact on the environment and on how increasing the capacity of the hospital would result in increasing the traffic in the area.

The CJP remarked that pollution would be caused by the emission of gasses. This can be resolved by acquiring the houses of those who have a problem.

The court was also told that posts for 100 doctors at the Polyclinic were lying vacant.

The law secretary told the court that there was a need for staff and hospitals in the rural areas of the city.

The health secretary responded by saying that they are building hospitals in the rural areas of Islamabad.

At his, the chief justice directed the health ministry to submit a detailed report on hospitals in the rural areas of the city.

The SC further ordered the CDA to make a decision regarding land for the NIRM Hospital and the nursing university within 15 days.

The hearing was adjourned the hearing for 15 days.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th, 2018.

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