QUETTA : Balochistan being the largest but the most socially deprived province of Pakistan, is never able to attract the kind of economic and developmental attention it deserves from the national leadership and it’s own political governments.
According to a recent report in the media; The Provincial Health Minister – Rehmat Saleh Baloch is often seen speaking passionately and making tall claims at Five star hotels and formal forums, about the development of a customized health policy and modern health facilities to meet the complex and specific needs of healthcare in Balochistan. However the actual medical facilities available on-ground, are still disappointing and health care remains a dream for common citizens of Balochistan.
A media reporter, who recently visited the Civil Hospital Quetta, has given his reflections of the pathetic conditions he witnessed at one of the major Hospital’s emergency centre. As he entered the corridor, a strong stench greeted him and his senses were overwhelmed. Once inside the hospital, the doctors were encircled by a large crowd of people, who appeared to be victims of a war-torn land, and reflected their unfortunate deprivation and poor living conditions. Even the major hospitals in Quetta presented a dilapidated condition.
The reporter further stated that; A few steps ahead, beds were lined up on the left side with patients lying on them, resigned, encircled by as many attendants as could possibly have find time and opportunity to accompany the poor patients. Drawing further into the corridor I came to the Operation Theatre (OT) where broken heads, fractured limbs and bleeding muscles were being treated. Patients seemed surrounded by trainees who kept on asking their attendants, every now and then, to fetch medicines from medical shops located in front of the Civil Hospital Quetta, as funds have never been allocated for the purchase of medicines for decades.
The reflections in the report state that; White tiles of the Operation theatre were blackened at some places, yellowish or reddish at other places – perhaps bearing the brunt of some strikes of sweepers or cruelty of some robber-cum-doctor-cum-administrators?—(so-called). Foams of the some beds were peeping outside the sheets to show their sympathy with patients. The corridor also had an X-ray room which was occupied by two officials responsible for making X-rays. One of them was perhaps in ecstasy of being the owner of the hospital. He yelled wildly at the patients who were mostly aged, children, and indigent sections.
At one instance, he rudely rebuked a patients’ attendant, “Why don’t you people demolish this hospital and emancipate us?” I wondered if he was asking emancipation for himself from patients or for patients from himself and from his other accomplices—yes accomplices who were quite apt at thievery of many sort. Coordination is an essential component of service delivery but it seemed nowhere existent. Ethical values, civility, and good behaviour were totally words of a different planet for the species of Hospital.
Yelling, shouting, and insulting were, it seemed, part of their capacity building trainings—if there were any. Communication skills, load management, service delivery, maintenance of hygienic conditions within premises of the hospital were irrelevant objects. The corridor of the emergency ward literally presented a look of flocks of animals running, wandering, bleeding, shouting and crying in a state of confusion after being battered by some catastrophe. Few emergency patients arrived, bleeding but no stretchers were available to carry them to the OT. Two attendants of patients entered into a brawl for winning a stretcher for their patients, luckily found at some corner. This all reminded of how proudly health policies are talked of with least regard for ground realities.
The reporter also criticized the incompetence or ineffectiveness of the Balochistan Health Minister, whose lack of commitment has led to the virtual absence of a health policy in the province. The minister seems totally ignorant about the health care conditions and facilities in the biggest city of the province. Not to mention the vast remaining rural areas, deserts and wildernesses across the province.
The doctors are also to be blamed as they do not fulfill their commitments and their Oath as a healthcare professional. The corrupt rulers, of this country are also criticized for not providing the basic facilities and livable conditions to the poor masses.