PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department is facing a daunting task of recruiting doctors as part of its efforts to strengthen health facilities for displaced persons from North Waziristan Agency currently residing in Bannu.
“We haven’t been finding doctors, especially lady doctors, desperately needed for posting them in Bannu to strengthen reproductive health services,” said Dr Ali Ahmed, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department’s focal person for IDP-hosting districts.
Despite being offered lucrative packages, medics are not ready to be posted temporarily at the Bannu health facilities, he said. The government wants to immediately appoint 10 doctors, including five lady doctors, for the Women and Children Hospital where renovation work and installation of air-conditioners had been completed.
Dr Ahmed said that presently the situation was under control due to the coordinated efforts of UN agencies and other organisations. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority has also given Rs5 million to upgrade healthcare services in Bannu.
KP health dept says it desperately needs doctors in Bannu
Bannu has three category ‘B’ hospitals, including Khalifa Gul Nawaz Teaching Hospital (KGTH), District Headquarters Teaching Hospital and Women and Children Hospital. The latter, built in 1930, is required to cater to the needs of an estimated 40,000 pregnant women, but doesn’t have the desired facilities. With the influx of IDPs, the government has to swing into action because the number of patients in the local facilities has almost tripled.
“We have started a complete exercise to ensure health facilities to local people and IDPs after assessment of 34 basic health units and three rural health centres in areas hosting IDPs,” he said.
Dr Ahmed said that the Fata Secretariat provided 20 doctors who had previously worked in Waziristan while KGTH was run by the army with its own staff. He said that the doctors deputed by the army had been serving the patients.
He said that the health department had also established medical camps at five ration distribution points and one permanent camp at Bakakhel, FR Bannu, which is the first registration point for the displaced population.
Sources in the health department said that the government wanted to send doctors to the IDP-hosting areas to serve their own people. These doctors, presently serving on administrative posts, became doctors due to their being domiciled in Fata, they said.
The sources said that the provincial government would ask these doctors from Fata to serve their own people, who were at the risk of a host of ailments. They said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa required immediate response to get doctors for the treatment of internally displaced people. “Doctors who took admission to medical colleges on Waziristan domicile have also the moral obligation to serve their people in this time of need,” they said.
Every year, about 75 students belonging to tribal areas take admission in 10 public sector medical colleges of the province on the basis of being the residents of Fata.
“We have recruited 20 assistant nutritional officers to cater to the needs of 41 per cent of the total children who suffered from gastroenteritis, which was not dangerous,” Dr Ahmed said.
He said that with the help of donor organisations they had started chlorinating the water supplied through tube-wells while the donors had also assisted the health department to give supplements such as biscuits to the malnourished children.
Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2014