Seven children die in Thar

Provincial govt blames PM for not sending the promised Rs1 billion.

Z Ali March 24, 2014
Thar’s drought claims the lives of seven more children, with the eldest of them being only three years old. PHOTO: AFP


Amid a shortage of doctors and a lack of facilities in Tharparkar government hospitals, the death toll of children continues to rise, with seven more deaths reported from Mithi, Islamkot and Chachro talukas on Monday.

This takes the death toll to more than 180 infants and children in the drought-hit district in the last four months. The government, however, accepts only about 100 of these deaths.

The latest victims are six-month-old Farman Ali, two-month-old Naveed, two-month-old Suhai, newborn Babu Kolhi, two-year-old Irfan Rind, three-year-old Kamran Samejo and one-month-old Amrit Meghwadh.

Meanwhile, one-year-old Kishwar Kumar and two-month-old Ateesh Kumar were referred to Hyderabad in critical condition, according to Civil Hospital Mithi's Dr Sahib Dino, who confirmed only two deaths. The flow of new cases at the government hospitals has also remained constant.

"Almost 10 to 15 children are brought to the hospitals every day," said Dr Jaleel Ahmed Bhurgari, a district health officer. "But, only three child specialists are working at Civil Hospital, Mithi, while all the other taluka hospitals have no paediatrician." Bhurgari, who also has the acting charge of medical superintendent of Civil hospital, told officials in a meeting with Sindh relief commissioner Ilmuddin Bulo that the provincial government has yet to send doctors to address the shortage. "I have time and again written to the health secretary but the new appointments are still not made."

The health department will hold a written test to appoint doctors for Tharparkar, Umerkot, Sanghar, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Khairpur and Ghotki districts on March 29. The test will be held at Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences.

Bulo, who visited the hospital, was unhappy with the medical superintendent for failing to ensure cleanliness in the children's ward and managing the flow of visitors in the hospital. He became upset after finding the ward's air-conditioner out of order. The doctors anticipate an increase of gastro-related illnesses among the children as the weather gets hotter in the famine-affected Tharparkar.

On Sunday, two children were reported dead in Mithi. Both the children were between one and seven days old. Similarly on Saturday, two infants were reported dead in Mithi. Dr Sahib Dino identified one of the deceased as three months old Bhagat Kolhi, whose parents belong to Diplo taluka, and three months old Ladaan Bajeer who died on way to the hospital from Islamkot taluka. As many as 50 children from Tharparkar were referred to Civil Hospital Hyderabad since the beginning of March.

PM's package

The prime minister's comparison of the droughts in Sindh's Tharparkar and the Punjab's Cholistan has ruffled some feathers in the province. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had reportedly said the situation in Tharparkar was unprecedented. In response, Sindh information minister Sharjeel Memon pointed out that over 90 per cent of the population in Cholistan has migrated to other areas due to the drought. Meanwhile, migration in Thar is still under 20 per cent, he claimed. He blamed the media for turning a blind eye to the situation in Cholistan.

He regretted that not a single penny from the sum of Rs1 billion announced by the prime minister for the people of Tharparkar has been received yet.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2014.


Annaam Butt | 7 years ago | Reply Salam, Is there any reliable organization to which money can be sent for the purpose of improving the situation in Thar? Please guide in this matter as it may help save lives.... Annaam
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