RAWALPINDI: Work on Mother and Child Hospital finally began after Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the project on Friday.

Addressing on the occasion, he asked the Health Task Force led by Dr Nosherwan Adil Burki and the Punjab government to complete the project as soon as possible.

The project was first inaugurated on April 8, 2005, by the then prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, along with Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, who was the railways minister at that time too.

But the building is still incomplete as the PML-N government did not allocate funds for the project during its two stints in the Punjab government from 2008 to 2018.

According to the project, the 400-bed hospital equipped with modern facilities was to be made functional in 2008. The federal government was to pay 50pc of the funds and 50pc funding was to be made by the Punjab government.

A nursing school was also to be established in the hospital. The government would set up a chest diseases centre on the premises of the hospital.

In July 2018, the then chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Saqib Nisar, visited the site and asked the authorities to complete the hospital without any further delay.

However, work has been launched after allocation of Rs6 billion by the PTI government. Some changes were made to the project and the number of beds has been decreased from 400 to 200.

A senior official of the health department told Dawn that the government was facing shortage of funds so it decided to start the hospital with 200 beds and 200 more beds would be added in the next fiscal year.

He said the three govt hospitals in the city were not able to cope with patients from the city, cantonment areas and adjoining towns and villages.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2019

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