KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday directed the provincial secretary for health to come up with a detailed report on Feb 20 regarding the public hospitals to be repaired, upgrade of operation theatres and purchase of equipment for such medical facilities.
The two-judge SHC bench headed by Justice K.K. Agha also asked the health secretary to file a progress report about procurement of required equipment for the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) and said that it would not tolerate further delay on account of bureaucratic red tape since it was the fundamental right of the people to get adequate treatment with all necessary medical equipment.
The bench also called a progress report from the newly appointed medical superintendent of the Lyari General Hospital about the provision of machinery and equipment after rejecting a report which was not understandable.
In the last hearing, the bench had directed the provincial chief secretary, the secretary and the additional secretary of the finance department to appear in person to explain why a summary regarding equipment for the CHK had not been approved.
Issues notices to relevant authorities on a petition against encroachment in Scheme-33
When the matter came up on Thursday, additional secretary for finance Shahab Qamar Ansari through a compliance report informed the bench that the finance department had released Rs49.562 million for maintenance and repair of hospitals while Rs250m for upgrade of 80 operation theatres and purchase of machinery and equipment for various hospitals of Sindh have also been released. The newly appointed secretary for health, Zahid Abbasi, confirmed that he had received the funds.
Thereafter, the bench directed him to appear in person at the next hearing and to file a report that which hospitals were being repaired, details of hospitals where 80 operation theatres were being upgraded and what kind of machinery was to be purchased and for which hospitals.
Secretary for planning and development Shaheen Mustafa Narejo submitted that there was no need for the summary regarding upgrade of operation theatres since the finance department had already released the funds and provided them to the health secretary.
The health secretary informed the bench that tenders were to be opened on Jan 24 and the procurement of equipment for the CHK would be made in the shortest possible time. The CHK medical superintendent also filed a progress report about procurement of equipment.
The bench directed the investigating officer to ensure that the recommendations of the provincial task force for missing persons made in the case of a missing child must be carried out before the next hearing and called a progress report from the IO.
Earlier, the SHC had directed the provincial authorities to release funds to install equipment and facilities at the CHK to rectify the deficiencies highlighted in a judicial inquiry conducted on a directive of the SHC issued in October 2018 after health and hospital officials contended that the CCTV cameras were not working when a child went missing from the OPD.
The petitioner, Saba, moved the SHC in 2018 stating that she took her three-year-old son to the CHK for a check-up, but he went missing when she was busy in obtaining a token in the OPD.
Another division bench of the SHC has issued notices to the provincial and police authorities on a petition against alleged encroachment on land in Scheme-33 in Karachi.
The bench directed the respondents, including the provincial home secretary, assistant commissioner-East, police officials, to file comments by Feb 13.
The petitioner, Iqbal Ahmed, approached the SHC against the police and revenue authorities for allegedly helping a land grabber to encroach upon his 17.8 acres land in Scheme-33 in Gulzar-i-Hijri and harassing the petitioner.
Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2020