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BAHAWALPUR: The Punjab government has revived a scheme to establish a children’s hospital on Jhangiwali Road adjacent to the Government Civil Hospital.

The proposed 350-bed hospital is likely to be constructed with the financial assistance of South Korea.

Quaid-i-Azam Medical College Principal Prof Dr Javed Iqbal (who is the chief executive officer of five health facilities) told Dawn that Punjab Minister for Health Dr Yasmeen Rashid had given a go-ahead for the project with its preliminary arrangements.

The original proposal of the construction of a children’s hospital with the co-funding by South Korea was floated by former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif. Subsequently, there was no headway in the project.

Dr Iqbal said the health minister during her last week’s visit to the Quaid-i-Azam Medical College (QAMC) had asked him to move a summary to the health department. A 28-acre piece of state land adjacent to the civil hospital was available for the project which is expected to cost Rs5,008 million.

He said South Korea was likely to contribute to the project the PC-1 of which had been prepared.

He said it was under the active consideration of the Punjab health department to open a new gynaecology ward at the Government Civil Hospital and establish a children’s emergency ward at the BVH and the concept paper had been submitted to the government.

Regarding the concerns expressed by people over the alarming mortality rate due to the swine flu virus at the BVH, the CEO said HIN1 needed precautionary measures and awareness. He claimed that in most cases the swine flu virus patients (suspects) were brought to the BVH in a critical condition and teams of doctors try their best to treat them.

He reiterated that the extended winter due to the rains in the last one month or so had strengthened the virus. He said eight people had died of swine flu virus.

As for the issue of the shortage of the kits for testing the blood samples of the suspected patients at the BVH, Dr Iqbal said he was making all possible efforts to ensure availability of the kits.

He said the process, however, remained uninterrupted as the blood samples were dispatched to the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Islamabad from where the results were received within two days.

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2019