To provide international standard medical services to the citizens of Rawalpindi, the country's first earthquake-proof mother and child hospital has entered the final stages of completion. The Rs6 billion project will be inaugurated in August.
The foundation stone of the hospital was laid in 2006 at the site of the old TB hospital. The project was supposed to be completed in 2009 but due to the non-availability of funds, work on the project could not start. The project was re-launched in 2018 after the PTI government came to power and 90 percent of work on the project has been completed, with the remaining work in full swing.
The facility will be equipped with 200 beds, 17 operating theatres and the country's first nursing hostel. Prime Minister Imran Khan inspected progress on construction work the other day and issued on-the-spot instructions.
In this regard, MNA Sheikh Rashid Shafique told The Express Tribune that funds for the project have been released by the federal government. This healthcare facility will be a gift for the citizens of Rawalpindi, he added. Due to the delay in completing the project, its cost had reached Rs4 billion over the years.
Shafique said the hospital will be inaugurated in August citing the coronavirus pandemic situation as a major reason behind its delay. He said apart from Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the citizens of Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, and Gujjar Khan will benefit from it. He added there were many problems that had to be overcome while completing the project.
On the occasion, social activists said they were glad once the hospital became operational, the people would have one more state-of-the-art hospital for treatment at their doorstep.
With an increasing population and a rising number of people coming from other areas for medical assistance in Rawalpindi, the garrison city needs more health facilities. Last month, Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC) Executive Director Prof Dr Anjum Jalal had said that owing to an excessive number of patients, a new block for the outpatient department (OPD) has become an absolute must for the hospital.
Prof Jalal said the RIC had been providing free treatment facilities in emergency and OPD to every patient visiting the institute. “The RIC tries not to delay emergency operations. However, dates for surgery are allotted on a need basis as there are cases where slight delays do not cause a problem,” said the RIC executive director.
He added that the institute has some of the best cardiologists in the world, while cardiologists from abroad regularly offer their services at the healthcare facility. Prof Jalal said that the institute currently had a capacity of 304 beds while the actual requirement was for much more.
“There is no space in the present structure as the height of the present building could not be raised due to the proximity of the civil aviation airbase,” he said. “With the addition of the underground parking facility in the existing parking lot, it has been proposed to construct a new building on this space and relocate the OPD there,” Prof Jalal added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2021.