PESHAWAR: The directorate of health for newly-merged tribal districts has sought incentives for health workers, upgradation of administrative positions and posting of tribal doctors in the local hospitals to enable the population get effective health services.

Most of the 1,108 health facilities don’t operate to a desired level owing to shortage of doctors and health workers, according officials. They said that a proposal to improve healthcare also included filling the 1,230 vacant posts in the local hospitals.

The officials said that a plan was sent to health department to utilise the existing infrastructure for health delivery services to the people.

They said that were 11,008 health employees in tribal districts. They added that health facilities in the region included seven district headquarters hospitals, four tehsil headquarters hospitals,531 civil dispensaries, 171 basic health units, 95 mother and child health centres and 13 category C hospitals but patients had to go outside for treatment.

They said that the vacant posts included 128 charge nurses, 267 paramedics, 19 women medical officers and more than 100 technologists because the employees didn’t want to be posted in tribal districts. Terrorism during the past decade proved detrimental in further squeezing the facilities as health professionals feared to work there, they added. Militants also damaged facilities and health workers were scared of being posted there.

An available infrastructure needs human resources by offering additional benefits to attract senior doctors. The monthly package of Rs125,000 to specialist and Rs92, 000 to medical officers is too little as 260 posts have been lying vacant in tribal districts for years.

The officials said that health department was considering upgradation of post of director health in BPS-19 to director-general in BPS-20, director development, medical superintendent, district health officer and specialist from BPS-18 to BPS19 to pave way for posting of senior medics there.

These posts were upgraded in 2000. Senior people get transferred when they move to next grades.

The officials said that health department was requested to post in tribal districts those people, who became doctors on the seats reserved for residents of erstwhile Fata under quota system, as they had to serve their own people. Each year, 158 seats are reserved for students of tribal districts of the total 1,000 seats for the province in 10 public sector medical colleges. Formerly, such suggestions were not materialised.

In collaboration with army, authorities have been able to deal with outbreak of leishmaniasis, by holding free medical camps and operating health facilities, especially the newly-built hospitals.

Delegation of powers to transfer employees from 17 and above has been sought for the director-general as part to empower the administration to initiate disciplinary action. Independent Monitoring Unit of the health department has been assigned the job of checking absenteeism through biometric attendance system.

Under a new initiative to improve immunisation and prevent childhood ailments, a child will get Rs200 for each of six visits, total of 1,200, to the expanded programme on immunisation centres (EPI) in the hospitals. Women would get Rs500 per ante-natal visit, a total of Rs2,000 for four visits, three before and one after delivery to any public sector hospital.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2019

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