Fighting back: Hospitals taking no chances this Muharram

The 10th of Muharram brings back terrible memories for Jinnah hospital but this time around, the staff is prepared.


Express December 17, 2010

KARACHI: The 10th of Muharram brings back terrible memories for Jinnah hospital but this time around, the staff is prepared. Last year, a bomb planted in a motorcycle exploded near the accident and emergency department, injuring scores of people who were already tending the wounded from an earlier bomb attack. Security measures this year have been taken keeping that disaster in mind, JPMC’s joint executive director Dr Seemin Jamali told The Express Tribune.

The security plan has been prepared with the help of the police and paramilitary Rangers. Vehicles are not allowed to park inside the JPMC premises or by the boundary walls of the centre. Only ambulances would be allowed to access the accident and emergency department, which has moved to the back of the hospital while the front is renovated.

After last year’s attacks, all major hospitals, including JPMC, Civil Hospital, Karachi (CHK) and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH), have prepared security plans in collaboration with the capital city police and Pakistan Rangers.

Hospitals have stocked up on medicines and blood. “There are 1,100 blood bags available in the JPMC blood bank,” Dr Jamali said.

The accident and emergency department will not have extra staffers but the hospital is prepared for emergencies and has arranged around 100 doctors, nursing staff and paramedics to stay on standby. All leaves and holidays have been cancelled and the entire strength of the hospital is ready to perform, added Dr Jamali.

CHK medical superintendent Dr Saeed Qureshi told The Express Tribune that 100 CHK security guards will be on duty and the Rangers have also been stationed at their accident and trauma centre. Policemen have been deployed at the entrances. Only ambulances will be allowed to enter the area. Around 400 bags of blood have been arranged.

Health minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed visited Civil hospital on Thursday night to survey the security measures. The minister plans to stay at the main medical camp on MA Jinnah Road on Muharram 10.

Similar measures have been taken at ASH, the biggest hospital under the City District Government Karachi (CDGK). CDGK’s Dr Javed Nasir Sheikh told The Express Tribune that the emergency ward at the ASH has a 30-bed facility but special arrangements have been made to accommodate 100 patients at a time.

Arrangements have already been finalised to use the out-patients department to meet emergency calls.

As far as the availability of blood is concerned, ASH has been linked to Khidmat-e Khalq Committee’s blood bank and 100 bags will be delivered in 30 minutes, if required. Like other major health facilities, the ASH has also cancelled leaves of doctors, nurses and paramedics. However, the staff will work in shifts.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2010.

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