LARKANA: Chandka Medical College Hospital (CMCH), Larkana, equipped with 1500 beds, is facing a crisis-like situation for the past one year as the SNEs (Sanctioned New Establishment) of projects completed between 2007 and 2010 had not been approved as yet. This had multiplied the woes of the patients and had caused an acute shortage of medics and paramedics because the new schemes were being managed with meager staff transferred from other wards.
These schemes included a 40-bedded extension of the Eye Ward, a 40-bedded Accident and Emergency Center, an 8-bedded Thalassaemia Centre which had been handed over to a private party, an 8-bedded Burns Center, and the establishment of the Benazir Bhutto Skin Disease Complex as well as a Dental and Hepatology Department, respectively.
Another scheme, namely the Faryal Talpur Cardiac Complex, was handed over to the NICVD. The required costly machinery, equipment, and instruments were procured for these new departments, which were currently lying either idle or being used elsewhere. The CMCH authorities had written several reminders to the Health Department, but all had been ignored despite the claim of PPP rulers about the vision of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to give top priority to the health and education sectors. The rulers had forgotten their priorities as both these sectors remain neglected for the past 12 years. The annual budget of the hospital was over one billion rupees, but the poverty-stricken needy patients had to procure medicines from the open market as the central procurement system had ruined the old system of medicine purchasing i.e., via the concerned Medical Superintendent (MS).
The major diagnostic MRI machine had also been dysfunctional for the past several months. The x-rays and ultrasound machines were very old and needed to be replaced immediately. The laundry machines which were procured during the 70s by Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, where over 1100 bedsheets and other OT clothes were washed daily, had also become outdated. The laundry building had also become dilapidated and dangerous. However, no repair or renovation work had been carried out. Sources claimed that the laundry staff was not serving their duties but simply drawing salaries while sitting at home.
Over nine costly ventilators had not yet been installed and made functional due to the unavailability of trained staff. The sanitation issue had become very acute due to the shortage of sanitary workers. Untrained staff was recruited in the past on technical posts, which also added to the miseries of the poor patients.
The ghost employees’ issue had also multiplied as the staff had been drawing salaries without serving their duties. No stern action had been taken by anyone against them, which, too, had affected the working of this hospital.
The residents of Larkana demanded the provincial government to take the appropriate foolproof administrative measures to run this major hospital forthwith, replace old and outdated diagnostic equipment and instruments, ensure that employees perform their duties, and post one senior BPS-20 doctor as the MS. Patients of more than 12 districts could benefit from the provision of better healthcare system. Ensuring proper healthcare provision was the fundamental job of the government. Otherwise, private medical centers would continue to loot poor patients who arrived at the CMCH from far-flung areas for treatment.