RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government has decided to recruit more than 50 doctors to cope with the shortage of medical professionals in Rawalpindi’s government-run hospitals following the alarming rise in dengue cases in the city.

The government has declared a health emergency in three government-run hospitals and allowed the Rawalpindi Medical University (RMU) to recruit doctors immediately. Walk-in interviews will be held today (Thursday) in this regard.

RMU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mohammad Umer told Dawn that the chosen doctors will begin working tomorrow (Friday).

Punjab govt declares health emergency in Rawalpindi’s public hospitals; doctors hired by RMU will begin working tomorrow

“We are facing a shortage of nurses, doctors and paramedics at government-run hospitals to deal with dengue patients, as more than 400 patients have been admitted to medical university’s three allied hospitals. The Punjab government has asked the RMU to recruit doctors on an emergency basis,” he said.

He added that the district administration has handed the 70-bed Red Crescent Hospital over to the RMU to accommodate dengue patients, but 40 doctors and 60 nurses and paramedical staff are needed to see to the patients.

“The hospital is not functional yet. The 70-bed hospital will be made functional within a few days after doctors and paramedical staff are recruited,” he said.

Dr Umer said the matter was taken up with Punjab Minister of Health Dr Yasmeen Rashid when she visited Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH), Holy Family Hospital and the District Headquarters Hospital to observe the facilities provided to dengue patients.

He confirmed that the recruitment committee will complete the hiring process by Thursday evening and selected doctors will begin working immediately.

The doctors will be hired on one-year contracts, he added.

Dr Umer said he has contacted the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Polyclinic and Capital Development Authority Hospital in Islamabad asking them to share the burden of routine patients, in light of the increase in dengue cases.

“At present, all the dengue patients are being treated at government-run hospitals with routine patients suffering from other ailments. In case of an emergency, private hospitals will be asked to allocate 20 beds on their premises for dengue patients,” he said.

The administration of BBH has asked that the hospital be allowed to refer routine patients to Islamabad hospitals, he said.

Another 88 dengue patients have visited Rawalpindi hospitals in the last 24 hours, bringing the number of cases to more than 1,500.

Deputy Commissioner Chaudhry Mohammad Ali Randhawa told Dawn that the administration is working day and night to control dengue in the city and cantonment areas.

He said the number of dengue patients fell gradually in the last week compared to the week prior. However, he said, he has directed the health authority and other departments to intensify fumigation in all city union councils.

The district administration has a new plan for fumigating all the union councils, he said, for which the provincial government has provided more machines.

Anti-dengue teams have inspected 74,645 houses and 45,910 commercial sites in the last two days, he said. They found dengue larvae in 3,507 houses and 215 commercial sites.

He said the administration is also helping government-run hospitals increase their beds and has managed to contact the federal government to refer routine cases to Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2019