CM’s health priority: Why Qatar Hospital dumps robotic surgery machine?

KARACHI: The costly robotic surgery machine in Sindh Government Qatar Hospital Karachi has been lying non-functional for couple of years due to funds shortage.

Such kind of lethargy by health department affects Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah’s promise of keeping health among his three top priorities. After assuming charge as Sindh Chief Minister, Shah had vowed to give top priorities to health, education and law & order, but such a statement needs to do more work in health sector.

The advanced robotic surgery machine was installed in the hospital in 2011. The then Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan inaugurated the facility in October 2011. However, this machine developed a ‘mysterious fault’ and was left to be rusted in the hospital for past couple years as hospital administration has no funds to get it repaired.

An administrative official at the hospital told PPI that the hospital administration had performed 70 successful surgeries from 2011 to 2014, but later the surgeries through robotic machine could not be carried out due to some technical fault and management failure to get it repaired. He said some major advantages of robotic surgery are precision, miniaturization, smaller incisions, decreased blood loss, less pain, and quicker healing time.

He said: “Rs 40 million is urgently needed for repairing robotic machine and the hospital administration had sent a request to Sindh health department for release of funds to get this machine repaired.” He said cost of per surgery on this machine is millions of rupees at private hospitals while the Qatar Hospital was perfuming all surgeries free of cost before this new machine got the mysterious technical fault.

The official said the machine would help doctors perform surgeries, including partial nephrectomy and radical nephrectomy or removal of prostate gland, removal of cancerous tumours and kidneys infected with renal cell carcinomas.

Medical Superintendent, Sindh Government Qatar Hospital, Orangi Town, Dr Syed Khalid Masood, while talking to PPI, said robotic surgery machine was purchased in 2011 but it has been lying non-functional for over two years due to shortage of funds.

He informed that Rs 40 million were needed to make robotic surgery machine functional and a summery had been moved to health department for release of funds for the maintenance of machine in order to run it on regular basis.

However, it is very strange that why this costly brand new machine developed fault within three to four years, as such machines at private hospitals run for decades without any major fault.

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