KARACHI: The Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases, one of the major facilities for heart patients in the city run by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, will not be able to run its Coronary Care Unit and male and female wards on the day of general election (July 25) as most of the nursing and paramedical staffs have been deputed to do election duties, it emerged on Sunday.

Confiding this to Dawn, sources in the KIHD said that the KIHD, one of the two official hospitals for heart patients in the city, would be able to run only emergency in morning and evening shifts due to shortage of staff.

They said that the assistant director of KIHD nursing department had written to the executive director of the facility that 99 per cent of nursing staff were engaged with general elections duties on the election day and the department was left with only six staff nurses.

The nursing department head, the sources said, informed the head of the facility that it was too difficult for the department to run emergency, CCU and male and female wards smoothly on the election day with that low strength of staff nurses and paramedical staff.

They said that the executive director of the facility had also informed the KIHD senior director of the KMC Medical and Health Services that the management of the hospital was unable to run CCU, male and female wards on the day of the general elections as most of our nursing and paramedical staffs are engaged in election duties.

“In this situation, we can only run emergency of KIHD in morning and evening shifts”, he further informed.

It may be noted here that all 13 medical facilities run by the KMC may not be able to cater to any medical emergency on the polling day on July 25 as majority of the staff of Medical and Health Services of the municipal utility, including 500 doctors and 300 nurses, have been deputed to do election duties.

A large number of patients visiting KMC run hospitals have been facing a great deal of hardships for the past three weeks as over 1,500 medical staff, deputed to do election duties, had been undergoing election training causing a drastic decrease in the number of the patients being attended at the out-patient department.

This is for the first time that the medical staff of hospitals, considered essential service, has been deputed to do election duties in the upcoming general elections as presiding officer and assistant presiding officers.

Over 1,500 staff of the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases, Sarfraz Rafiqui Shaheed Hospital, Sobhraj Maternity Hospital, Landhi Medical Complex, Spencer Eye Hospital, Landhi Cardiac Centre, Shah Faisal Cardiac Centre, Homeopathic Hospital Nazimabad, Leprosy Hospital Manghopir, Gazdarabad Maternity & General Hospital (GMGH) and other healthcare facilities were asked to get training by the Election Commission of Pakistan to perform duties.

However, the regional election commission said that essential staff, including senior doctors and teaching faculties, had been exempted from the election commission for the smooth running of the KMC-run hospital on the election day.

The sources said that the KMC Medical and Health Services on July 11 requested the election commission to exempt the staff of its three major hospitals — the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, the Karachi Institute of Hearth Diseases and the Sobhraj Maternity Hospital — from election duties.

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2018