Shikarpur hospital issue again echoes in assembly

KARACHI: The issue of medical negligence, absence of doctors, staff and unavailability of medicine and facilities at the Sindh government-run Civil Hospital Shikarpur once again echoed in the Sindh Assembly on Monday.

Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) MPA Imtiaz Shaikh during the question hour, on a supplementary question, asked from Sindh Health Minister Mahtab Dahar, what steps his department had taken to improve the performance of the Civil Hospital Shikarpur, as the hospital still faces shortage of doctors and specialists. He said the similar negligent administration is still working in the hospital. However, the Sindh health minister did not respond to the question of Imtiaz Shaikh, asking the speaker to decide if it was a relevant question.

The speaker, Agha Siraj, observed that the health minister has already visited the Civil Hospital Shikarpur and Inshallah things would be improved there. On which, Imtiaz Shaikh said we pray so.

It may be recalled that the attack on a mosque in Shikarpur during Friday prayers on January 30, 2015, dozens of the injured were rushed to the Civil Hospital Shikarpur, but only five of them found relief there, and the others, most of them critically injured and bleeding profusely, were turned away and sent to private hospital Hira Medical Centre in Sukkur, located an hour’s drive away in Sukkur, Sukkur’s Civil Hospital, Chandka Medical College Hospital Larkana and a private hospital of Karachi.

This issue was also raised in the Sindh assembly soon after the sad incident. Earlier, on Feb 02, 2015 on the floor of Sindh assembly, Imtiaz Shaikh had expressed serious concern on deaths of seriously injured of bomb blast due to lack of doctors and facilities and called the hospital as a a “maqtalgahh” (killing field). He had pointed out that there had been no facilities including doctors, technicians, blood, oxygen and ambulances. People shifted the bodies and injured in motorcycle rickshaws and donkey carts.

The leader of the opposition, Mohammad Shaharyar Khan Mahar had pointed out that this district headquarters hospital had even not surgical cotton available to dress the wounds and many people died of negligence of healthcare providers and non-existent medical facilities.

Rai Bahadur Udhwadas Tara chand (RBUT) Civil Hospital was founded by local philanthropists prior to creation of Pakistan, opened on February 2, 1935. It was considered amongst the best hospitals of the region. However, presently like other government-run hospitals of Sindh province, this hospital is marred by ghost doctors, politically-favored employees, embezzlement of medicines and mismanagement. The citizens of Shikarpur have been crying for years to post doctors, surgeons and specialists to this historical hospital and upgrade as a teaching hospital but in vain. They feel the crime of the citizens of Shikarpur is that they elected PML-F candidate Imtiaz Shaikh, defeating a PPP heavyweight.

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