Healthcare in Sindh: Five burns centers in limbo despite passage of five years

Karachi: The construction work of five new burns centers started in 2009 by Provincial Health Department in different cities of Sindh province could not be completed as yet despite the passage of five long years due the lethargy and bad governance.

A senior official of Health Department Sindh requesting anonymity said the construction work of five burns centers started in 2009 in different cities of Sindh province to provide better facilities to the people of Sindh; however: this vital emergency healthcare project could not be completed as yet because the provincial rulers have put it on the back burner.

He said the health department Sindh had initiated the construction work of these five new burns centers with a cost of Rs255 million and the project was supposed to be completed in 2011. Unfortunately the constriction work of these burns centers is still in limbo because of political reasons as this project was introduced by a different political party.

He said the plan of construction of five burns centers in different cities Sindh was actually the brainchild of the Former Provincial Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and also approved by him. These centers were planned in Sindh Government Hospital Liaquatabad Town: Liaquat Medical University Hospital Jamshoro (Hyderabad): Chandka Medical College Hospital Larkana: Ghulam Muhammad Mehar Medical Collage Sukkur and Civil Hospital Mirpurkhas to treat the patients with burns injuries at local level: as many serious burn patients die while shifting to Karachi: where the lone burns center of Sindh province operates.

He informed over 1: 000 burns cases are being reported every year in Sindh as the number of burn-related injuries is increasing sharply. He said construction of these burns centers was aimed to save precious lives of patients who receive burn injuries due to cylinder blasts: fires: acid burns: electricity shocks: bomb blasts and other reasons. He said many injured patients of interior areas of Sindh die before reaching Karachi and in this backdrop the construction of these burns centers was very important.

He said Burns Center Karachi is operating under public-private partnership at the Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK). However: it alone cannot cater the huge patient load: as patients with serious burns injuries are brought from far-flung areas of not only Sindh but also other provinces. He said this center has the capacity of just 65 beds which it too meager keeping in mind the inflow of emergency nature patients.

Howe3ver: Senior Plastic Surgeon and In-charge Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) Burns Center Dr Ehmer -Al-Ibran told PPI that about 40 percent burden of burns injuries patients could be shared by the proposed five new burns centers in Sindh province: if they are ever completed.

He said though burns injuries treatment facilities are available at Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) Jamshoro (Hyderabad) and Chankda Medical College Larkana: but mostly people with severe burns injures were brought to the Burns Center Karachi for treatment due to its reputation: well-trained and experienced staff and better healthcare facilities.

Dr Ehmer said with the construction of these burns centers the standard of medical education and healthcare would go upgraded in other teaching hospitals of Sindh in Hyderabad: Sukkur: Larkana and Mirpurkhas. He said the construction of these burns centers would also help to reduce the mortality ratio of burns injuries: and save people of far-flung areas from incurring huge costs of shifting their patients to Karachi.

General Secretary Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Karachi Qazi M Wasiq told PPI that the government approves different projects related to public welfare every year: but mostly these projects remain on paper and people only read news about their announcement in media. He said such projects should be implemented in letter and spirit if the government really wants to ensure service delivery to citizens.

He said these five new burns centers would largely benefit the general public as sole burns center of Karachi could not handle all the cases of burns injuries in Sindh province. He urged the authorities concerned to start remaining construction work of these burns centers in larger public interest.

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