Internal tiff between hospital management and Zakat fund managers have left poor patients holding the short end of the stick.
Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) has not received Zakat funds since July, leaving thousands of deserving patients to suffer as they are unable to get medicines and surgical equipment from the hospital.
Pims officials, who wished not to be named, told The Express Tribune that the hospital receives Zakat Fund in two instalments of Rs20 million every year. “The first instalment was supposed to be released in July, but it is now mid-December and not even a single penny has been released,” a source said.
At Pims, over 9,000 patients have been suffering since July till date, some has discontinued their treatment because of the unavailability of free medicines, while a number of surgeries have also been delayed, the sources said.
Aurangzeb, 35, is a daily-wage labourer earning barely Rs200-300 per day. He had a kidney transplant and comes to Pims from Vehari every month to get medicine, but since July he has been struggling.
“My life completely depends on two drugs, CellCept and Neoral, and since July I have been running from pillar to post to get these from Pims but every time I have been told that they are unavailable due to non-release of funds,” he said while talking to The Express Tribune.
The cost of one CellCept tablet is Rs160, and Aurangzeb must take them four times a day. Neoral tablets cost Rs155 and are to be taken six times-a-day.
Shaista, whose mother had a kidney transplant, is facing the same problem. Every day she comes from Westridge, Rawalpindi to Pims with a hope that she might get it today.
“We sold our house to get her kidney transplant done at a private hospital. Now we are left with nothing to sell to get her medicines,” she said.
Mohammad Irfan, 61, comes to Pims from a village near Kotli Sattian. He is suffering from a psychological disorder and needs medicines every day.
“I come here on a public transport, which cost me Rs 300. I have to come to Pims every month to get my medicine, but for six months I have not been getting them,” he said.
Zakat and Usher Committee District Officer Bahadur Qaisrani said he signed the cheque one-and-a-half months back, but it still needs to be countersigned by the Committee Chairman Azhar Hussain Butt.
When asked why it was being delayed, Qaisrani said it is because the chairman was not formally invited by the hospital at the tender opening ceremony for medicines and surgical equipment.
He said Zakat funds for Polyclinic Hospital have been released, and only Pims and Nuclear Medicine, Oncology and Radiotherapy Institute (Nori) Hospital are left.
Azhar Hussain Butt said the funds for Pims were about to be waived off but the decision was not finalised. When asked about the invitation for the tender opening ceremony, he admitted it was another reason behind the delay. He said the funds for Nori Hospital have been released.
However Social Welfare Department officials at Pims said a letter was sent to all the concerned departments and Zakat and Usher Committee officials had come to Pims to audit the contractor and expressed complete satisfaction with the tendering process.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ