KARACHI: Sindh government-run hospitals have been facing a critical shortage of life-saving drugs and disposal surgical items for the past five months due to the negligence of the Sindh Health Department.
Patients in Sindh’s hospitals, including the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Sindh Government Lyari General Hospital, Sindh Government Hospital Liaquatabad, National Institute of Child Health (NICH) and others, are often asked by doctors to purchase medicines from their own pocket.
The procurement process of life-saving medicines, surgical and disposable items, X-rays films, and chemical and allied items through a centralized system of drug procurement has not been completed yet, owing to bureaucratic hurdles and commission mafia influence.
The health facilities of Hyderabad, Larkana, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, Shaheed Benazirabad, and other cities are also facing a shortage of life-saving drugs as well as other items. Many crucial medicines for patients, who are suffering from chronic diseases, are also unavailable in the majority of government sector hospitals.
The Sindh Health Department introduced a centralized procurement system in 2014-15 to purchase life-saving drugs for all the hospitals in order to control corruption and other irregularities in purchasing medicines. Since then, about 85% of the medication for all the public hospitals in Sindh are being procured through a centralized system, while the remaining 15% are being processed through the local-purchase system.
The complicated procurement process has put the lives of many poor patients at stake across the Sindh province, as the supply of medicines to public sector hospitals has not started yet. Presently, almost all major government hospitals of Sindh are facing an acute shortage of life-saving drugs and surgical items.
An administrative official at the JPMC informed that a tender for procurement of medicines and surgical items through the central procurement system should have been issued earlier to avoid this crisis-like situation. Sindh’s hospitals face this stressful situation every year due to the complicated and lengthy procedure of medicine purchasing.
He further informed that the provision of drugs and surgical items to the OPD and emergency visiting patients daily had become very difficult for the administration as well.