MANSEHRA: Torghar is still short of health facilities even after it achieved the status of a settled district over a decade ago.
This highly conservative and backward area, which remained a tribal belt of Mansehra until it was given the status of a settled district, has yet to have a district headquarters hospital. It currently has no lady doctor.
“Our people are forced to seek treatment from quacks and faith healers as the government is yet to lay a health infrastructure in our district,” Mufti Saifullah Khattak, a local resident, deplored.
Residents claim Rs650m okayed for construction of DHQ hospital yet to be released
The then Pakistan Peoples Party government had changed the status of erstwhile Kala Dhaka into a settled district renaming it as Torghar in 2011 in order to check infiltration of miscreants from the neighbouring Malakand into the Hazara division.
“Then Awami National Party’s provincial government had sanctioned a Rs5 billion mega development package for the district, but the amount was misappropriated,” claimed Mr Khattak.
“Would you believe that Torghar is still without the district headquarters hospital even a decade after it was made a settled part of Pakistan,” Laiq Shah, another resident, said.
He added the district had only 10 basic health units.
“The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government during its last tenure had approved Rs650 million for construction of the district headquarters hospital in Judbah, but the project was yet to be executed as the government did not release the funds,” Mr Shah said.
“Women are the worst affected as they have to be shifted to the neighbouring districts in serious cases, and often they die on way to hospital as no lady doctor is posted in the district,” resident Riaz Khan said.
He said the district also lacked a proper road infrastructure and people widely used ferries to shift patients to other parts of the province.
“The local MPA claims the chief minister has approved upgradation of 12 dispensaries to the basic health units but this promise is yet to be materialised,” Mr Khan said.
He said if the PTI government was sincere in providing healthcare facilities to people it should release the funds for starting work on the DHQ hospital without delay.
District health officer Syed Mohammad Taimur Shah admitted that there was no proper health infrastructure in the district.
“I will strive hard to improve the existing health infrastructure,” Dr Shah said.
“Staff is yet to be appointed to the rural health centres in Judbah and Dormera,” he said. He conceded that there was no lady doctor in the entire district.
The DHO urged the government to appoint male and female doctors to the backward district.
He claimed people from Buner, Shangla, Swabi and Mansehra districts got employment in the health department of Torghar and then got themselves transferred to their native districts, thus impeding delivery of better healthcare to locals.
Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2021