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Social audit shows dismal condition of hospitals

November 16, 2017

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PESHAWAR: The much talked about health reforms introduced by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government came under a close scrutiny as speakers at a seminar here on Wednesday expressed dissatisfaction over the outcome of the programme.

The seminar, held under the auspices of Centre for Governance and Public Accountability, noted that provincial government allocated a record development budget of Rs67 billion to the health sector from financial year 2013-14 to financial 2017-18, but the effort remained without much success.

“Unfortunately, provision of available facilities does not justify the budget allocations,” maintained CGPA at the seminar, according to its press release.

CGPA informed participants of the seminar that community social audit of tehsil headquarters hospitals Takhtbhai and Katlang revealed the dismal conditions of health services at tehsil level.

Speakers dissatisfied with much talked about health reforms

“Key positions of staff are vacant since long and generators are run on public donations. Out of five ambulances, only one is functional. Oxygen cylinders are empty. No C-Section was carried out in both the hospitals last year. However 2,065 deliveries were conducted in Takhtbhai hospital. Blood bank is dysfunctional. An X-ray machine worth Rs7 million is not operational at Katlang hospital. Operation theatre, gynea ward, labour room and children wards do not have heating and cooling systems. Katlang hospital is without a medical superintend for the last two years. Posts of radiologists and anesthetists are vacant. The only ECG machine at Katlang hospital is out of order since long. Incinerators are out of order and solid waste is disposed in open wells at the hospitals,” contained the social audit’s findings.

Similarly, a water supply scheme was constructed at a cost of Rs576 million in which 31 tubewells were rehabilitated in Mardan. Out of 31 tubewells, 25 never functionalised.

“Final bills of the tube wells reveal that the tubewells are fully constructed and functional,” the study reveals.

Ehtesab Commission director retired Col Sardar Ali talked about performance of the commission. He said that all branches of investigation wing of the commission were almost non-functional owing to non-availability of staff. “Out of 82 sanctioned positions, only 15 are filled at officer level,” he said.

Mr Ali said that 28 references were registered so far and 67 were ongoing while 143 inquiries and 1,040 verifications were under process. He added that the commission could take action on corruption related issues in ongoing projects or those schemes that were cost less than Rs50 million.

Chief of KP Information Commission Azmat Hanef Orakzai stated that since its implementation in the province, the right to information law was playing a vital role in the social audit of public bodies, particularly the government departments. “It’s the next step of the RTI to conduct social audit,” he added.

The director general health office extended support to the tehsil hospitals and noted the complaints. A committee was formed on the spot to address the issues and problems surfaced in social audit of the hospitals.

CGPA Executive Director Mohammed Anwar said that corruption in public development schemes was systemic and the trend could not be arrested until allocation of development was not stopped to MPAs.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2017