The only female nursing college of the newly merged districts is yet to be made functional in Bajaur tribal district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) despite the passage of 15 long years.
The foundation laying of the building for the college was carried out in the year 2002 inside the District Headquarters Hospital, Khar, Bajaur and construction completed in 2006. It was planned to make the college functional in 2007.
“On February 16, 2007 the head of the health department Dr Abdul Ghani was killed in a roadside IED in Darra Salarzai, Bajaur along with a technician Sirajudin after which the college was named after him as Dr Abdul Ghani College but no step was taken to make the institute functional,” an official of the health department told The Express Tribune.
He informed that only in 2012 posts for the college were approved including one principal, vice principal, three nursing tutors, one computer operator, one senior clerk, one house keeper, one junior clerk, two drivers, four nuaib qasids, two chowkidars, one cook, two sweepers and two bearers.
“Despite the approval of the posts only five posts were filled and the rest of the 17 posts are lying vacant till this day,” he claimed, adding that a driver and two niab qasids were recruited and two people were adjusted on the orders of Peshawar High Court (PHC).
“Twice principal was recruited on contract basis but still the college was not started,” said the official, adding that in ex-FATA the college was under the Directorate of Health Services FATA which failed to take any step to this end but after the merger a new system was introduced in the newly merged districts (NMDs) for the first time.
In 2020, the college was handed over to the Provincial Health Services Academy (PHSA) and now it is under the control of it.
“PHSA too failed to take any step to make it functional. Twice principals were recruited but once a retired brigadier was appointed as principal and then a college warden was given the additional charge,” he said, adding that Pakistan Nursing Council (PNC) objected on both the occasions so the notifications were withdrawn.
PNC took the stance that both the appointments were not on technical grounds and only persons from nursing profession could be recruited.
Another official said that PHSA has been employing delaying tactics due to the lack of funds and non-availability of the funds was the biggest issue.
As far as the capacity of the college is concerned, each year 20 students will be enrolled and overall it has the capacity to handle 80 students as BS Nursing is a four-year degree.
In Bajaur there is a severe shortage of female nurses because local girls avoid the profession as no local college is available.
Bajaur is one of the poorest tribal districts along with Mohmand.
There are 56 posts of nurses at DHQ Khar in which 41 are filled but there are only six female nurses against 35 male nurses. Still 15 posts are vacant.
When approached Medical Superintendent (MS) of the hospital Dr Wazir Khan Safi said that local female nurses are not available and because of it most posts are vacant because female nurses from other districts are not willing to go to Bajaur.
“Nurses are recruited on the basis of their domiciles and local nurses are not available,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2022.
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