Progress on key RIUT project hits snags

Project director yet to be handed over administrative, financial affairs of institute


Jamil Mirza November 28, 2021

RAWALPINDI:

Administrative and financial affairs of the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology and Kidney Transplant (RIUT), notwithstanding the urgency surrounding the project, still await transfer to the new project director Dr Zainul Amir.

The Express Tribune has learnt that the newly deployed project director has neither been granted the drawing and disbursing officer (DDO) authority, nor has been provided with an administrative staff or director finance for running the initial operations of the healthcare facility.

The Punjab government has already released a grant of Rs800 million for making the hospital functional, and has approved the project concept (PC) -1 for the hiring of human resource and related expenses.

The control of the building has not been transferred to the health department yet, while Dr Zainul Amir has still not been given the requisite authority for directing the timely completion of the building, procurement of equipment, and running advertisements for recruitment.

Not even a new bank account has been opened for the purpose, said sources, adding that the important project did not see the light of the day under the previous government and is still hanging in the balance under the new regime.

The delay in making RIUT operational has led to an overload of kidney-related patients at the Benazir Bhutto Hospital, with the healthcare unit forced to push dates for surgeries by up to six months due to limited resources.

The foundation of RIUT was laid in 2012 by former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif with an aim of providing quality treatment to the citizens suffering from acute kidney diseases.

However, the construction of the hospital has been inching along at a snail’s pace, with a considerable volume of work remaining, even after almost a decade.

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Despite the lengthy period of time spent on the construction of the building, the civil works of the institute remain incomplete to this day. Purchase of relevant equipment, however, has been accomplished.

Additionally, the outbreak of Covid-19 converted the institute into a dedicated medical facility for coronavirus patients.

The healthcare facility is yet to establish a dialysis centre with 30 machines, five modern modular operating theatres, and another operation theatre.

The government is endeavouring to make it functional by December 2021.

Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU) Vice-Chancellor (VC) Professor Dr Mohammad Umar has said that the planning and development (P&D) department has approved Rs7 billion for the recruitment of human resources and to complete the remaining civil works.

Dr Umar shared that they have set an initial target to recruit 1,100 staff members, including doctors, nurses, and others, for the hospital.

Managing human resources at the institute had been a massive problem to date, with 210 nurses having been transferred to Lahore and other hospitals in Rawalpindi and Murree as RIUT was unable to pay their salaries.

The government is now working on deploying human resources from different hospitals on an ad-hoc basis and installation of the purchased equipment would also be fast-tracked.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2021.

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