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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has directed the provincial secretary for health to come up with a fresh report regarding steps taken to rectify the deficiencies, highlighted in a judicial inquiry report, at the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) and also sought a time frame to fix them.

The SHC also directed the finance secretary to turn up at the next hearing to inform it about the provision of funds for the improvement of the facilities at the CHK.

A two-judge SHC bench headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto observed that prima facie the government was falling short of its responsibility to provide adequate healthcare to patients visiting the hospital.

Three-year-old boy’s disappearance

In a previous hearing, the bench had ordered a district and sessions judge to hold an inquiry into the disappearance of a three-year-old child from the hospital as well as the dysfunctional closed-circuit television cameras at the OPD section and administrative affairs of the medical facility. The bench had also called a report from the health secretary.

Orders setting up of JIT to locate a missing child from the hospital’s OPD

These directions were passed after the mother of Noman moved the SHC against the disappearance of her child, who went missing from the outpatient department of the hospital in May.

After examining the judicial inquiry report, Justice Phulpoto directed the health secretary to appear on Dec 19 with a fresh report and comments in the light of observations made by the district judge as well as the deficiencies found during the judicial probe.

He also asked the health secretary to inform the bench about the steps taken to address those deficiencies and a time line to fix them.

The bench also ordered setting up of a joint investigation team to hold a fresh session about the missing child and refer it to the provincial task force for the boy’s recovery.

It ordered the removal of encroachments around the hospital and also sought reports from the Sindh Public Service Commission and medical superintendent about filling vacant posts of doctors and whether medicines were being provided to patients free of cost.

Previously, the medical superintendent of the CHK filed comments and submitted that there was no record of the child in the OPD section and also contended that the CCTV cameras installed in the OPD block were not functioning.

The petitioner, Saba, moved the SHC stating that she took her son to the hospital for a check-up, but he went missing when she was trying to obtain a token in the OPD.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018