THATTA, May 23: Makli Civil Hospital, four taluka hospitals and eight rural health centres in the district face a shortage of specialists and administrative staff for the past couple of years, resulting in inadequate health facilities to patients who mostly come from remote areas. Dawn

PPP MPA Humera Alwani who raised the issue of Thata hospitals in Sindh Assembly, told on Monday that the civil hospital had a sanctioned strength of 81 gazetted posts of specialists, including gynaecologist, ophthalmologist, anaesthetist, chest specialists, dermatologist, physician, surgeon, pathologist, paediatrician, senior dental surgeon, cardiologist, urologist and radiologist. But less than 50 per cent posts had been filled and the remaining were lying vacant.

The MPA said that these posts had been sanctioned in 1956 and the number had never been increased despite increase in population of the district which had reached over 1.7 million.

According to a monthly report compiled by the District Health Information System, number of incoming patients reporting at the civil hospital during 24 hours is 600 on an average.

Mr Alwani claimed that 41 special cadre employees of the hospital were serving at the National Institute of Child Health and Sindh government hospital in Karachi, Liaqauat University Hospital in Hyderabad and other hospitals on the basis of detailment, doing post-graduation in other cities, working as focal persons for Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Youth Development Programme or were on long leave.

According to the MPA, strength of sanctioned posts for Shaikh Zaid Medical Centre, Mirpur Sakro, is 33 out of which 24 posts are vacant. At Jati taluka hospital, 33 posts are sanctioned out of which 17 posts are lying vacant.

Mirpur Bathoro taluka hospital has 34 posts out of which 22 are vacant. Sujawal taluka hospital has 44 posts out of which 19 are vacant.

A total of 121 special cadre posts are sanctioned for eight rural health centres in Gharo, Var, Jungshahi, Darro, Baghan, Jherruck, Keti Bunder and Shah Bunder but 58 posts are vacant.

Thatta district has 63 government health facilities, out of which 50 Basic Health Units have been handed over to the People's Primary Health Initiative (PPHI). Under the administrative command of PPHI, the MPA said, overall performance of these BHUs had improved marginally.

She said the curative ratio of patients at the BHUs had improved but preventive ratio had declined because of comparatively poor attention towards EPI, malaria and TB control programmes.

Ms Alwani blamed lack of specialists and other staff for failure of these health facilities and said that a number of expensive machines, including dialysis machine, dental units, X-ray machines and instruments at pathological laboratories had been left to rot in several health facilities of the district.

The MPA said the poverty-stricken district required special attention and appealed to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah to form a special fact-finding team to help streamline the healthcare system.

Former MNA Babu Ghulam Hussain, member of PPP's Sindh Council, Aijaz Ali Khwaja and other leaders of civil society also called for streamlining healthcare system in the district.

DCO Mohammad Jaffar Abbasi said that he had requested Sindh Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed to abolish detailment of special cadre doctors posted at Thatta hospitals and end shortage of employees, including administrative staff and paramedics.

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