PESHAWAR / UPPER DIR: With health an admitted priority of the provincial government, they are aiming to digitise systems in hospitals and diagnostic centres throughout the province.
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Health Department has decided in-principle to digitise system for hospitals and diagnostic centres throughout the province to ensure that a proper record of patients is available while associated medicine and medical equipment are available.
For this purpose, the health ministry has set up a fully-fledged information technology department to manage the digital load and to address shortcomings.
The decision was announced in a meeting held at the health secretariat. The meeting was presided over by K-P Health Minister Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan and included Health Adviser Dr Jawad Wasif, district health officers, the Hayatabad Medical Centre (HMC) Medical Director Dr Shahzad Akbar and others.
The meeting was told that special forms will be created for patients of all public hospitals to record their personal information and related medical history which will then be made available for reference.
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Similarly, the system for supplying medicines will also be computerised so that medicines are purchased as per needs and usage to make the entire system more efficient.
Information on medical equipment and machines will also be digitised so that immediate measures can be taken in the event any equipment starts malfunctioning.
During the meeting, HMC Director Dr Akbar said that apart from treating people from the settled areas of the province, HMC also provides medical services to patients hailing from the tribal areas and Afghanistan.
Dr Hisham advised Dr Akbar to expedite the construction of a new casualty block, orthopaedic and spine unit at the HMC and assured him of the timely availability of the required funds and other resources.
The health minister reminded the HMC director that no compromise will be made on health services.
The hospital administrators were directed to assure regular attendance of their staff and doctors and to take action against those who were truant or procrastinated and neglected their duties.
Dir hospital lacks doctors
Even as the provincial government moves to computerize the health system in the province, some areas of the province do not have sufficient doctors, let alone computers.
Despite being the largest public health facility in the district, the hospital is only functioning at the level of a Tehsil Headquarters Hospital (THQ) and lacks the facilities required by a DHQ.
At the Upper Dir District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ), there are only 26 doctors available. The hospital has a sanctioned strength of around 110 doctors but around 84 of these posts remain vacant.
Among the key posts lying vacant are cardiology specialist, urologist, skin specialist, pathologist, orthopaedic specialist, lady gynaecologist, gastrologist, ophthalmologist, an ear-nose-throat specialist, diabetics specialist, ultrasound specialist and psychiatrist.
Out of the 89 posts for nurses, there is staff on only 25 of these posts while the rest are lying vacant.
Hospital officials and patients say that the hospital also lacks facilities for Computerised Tomography Scan (CT Scan) and a Magnetic Resonance Imagery (MRI) machine. There is no digital X-ray machine either, hence, doctors are forced to use obsolete machines.
Owing to the absence of a dialysis machine and the absence of a surgeon, kidney operations and procedures cannot be conducted there.
Even the electrical system of the hospital is in a state of disarray and there are no dedicated power connections as per the rules.
The water supply situation at the hospital is also in a similar dismal state, with the facility lacking access to sufficient clean water.
An old supply line has been providing water to the hospital. With the population around it now growing over the past 20 years, it supplies insufficient water.
Dir DHQ Medical Superintended Dr Imtiaz Ahmed Sahabzada said that the hospital administration has been sending written requests to the provincial government almost on a daily basis, including letters to the Upper Dir deputy commissioner, its local government Nazim, members of provincial and national assemblies seeking to draw their attention to the dismal state of the DHQ but they have yet to receive any response.
“We have repeatedly complained about the shortage of doctors and facilitates but are still waiting for the government to take the issue seriously,” he complained.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2019.
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