Senate body concerned about non-functioning MRI machines in capital’s hospitals

Published October 13, 2021
Senator Prof Dr Mehr Taj Roghani presides over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination at Parliament House on Tuesday. — AP
Senator Prof Dr Mehr Taj Roghani presides over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination at Parliament House on Tuesday. — AP

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS) on Tuesday showed its annoyance after being informed that MRI machines were not functional in all public sector hospitals in Islamabad.

The committee also criticised the absence of doctors in the outpatient departments (OPDs) of the hospitals.

At a meeting of the committee chaired by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf legislator Prof Dr Mehr Taj Roghani, Additional Secretary Ministry of the NHS Nabeel Awan confirmed that the MRI machines were out of order due to excessive load on them.

However, Mr Awan said the machines will be repaired, adding efforts were also being taken to procure new ones.

Senator Fawzia Arshad of the ruling party asked why doctors do not sit in the OPDs and why there was no emergency department at the National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (NIRM). She also asked why senior doctors do not sit in the NIRM OPD.

Machines not in working condition due to excessive load, official tells meeting

NIRM Executive Director Dr Shabana said the hospital focuses on the treatment of differently-able people so it did not have an emergency department. She assured the lawmaker that senior doctors would be available in the OPD.

No anti-rabies vaccine

Secretary Federal Ombudsman Secretariat Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui has directed the Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad (MCI), the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the ministry of NHS to address the issue of stray dogs and ensure the availability ofanti-rabies vaccine in the hospitals of the federal capital.

Federal Ombudsman Syed Tahir Shahbaz had taken notice of the failure of the civic agency to neutralise the stray dogs and the shortage of anti-rabies vaccine. The notice was taken over complaints filed by residents of the capital.

The ombudsman had also constituted a committee with Mr Siddiqui as its chairman to resolve the issue.

Mr Siddiqui, during a meeting, said due to inaction of both the agencies people were suffering, especially those who cannot afford buying the anti-rabies vaccine. He said media had highlighted the issue a number of times, especially biting of children by stray dogs. But no strategy has so far been devised by the civic agency, he added.

A representative of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) informed the meeting that the issue was related to the MCI whereas the mandate of the board was to protect wildlife. Representatives from the MCI and the CDA admitted that neutralising stray dogs was the responsibility of the MCI but still no policy had been formulated.

Showing annoyance, Mr Siddiqui directed the civic agency to take immediate action for neutralising stray dogs in a peaceful manner with no element of cruelty.

The representative of the NIH told the meeting that it had a shortage of three million doses of vaccine around the country.

The committee head directed the health secretary to ensure provision of sufficient number of anti-rabies vaccine in all hospitals of Islamabad.

Dengue awareness

Director General Directorate of Health Dr Hasan Orooj has written a letter to the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) and the Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (Peira) to initiate zero classes (short periods before commencement of regular classes) on dengue prevention and control in schools/colleges.

A letter, available with Dawn, stated: “Pakistan has been under threat from dengue fever since 1994. Dengue virus has become endemic in the twin cities and cases are reported with a major outbreak in the year 2019. It is, therefore, imperative to take urgent action since environment is conducive for dengue vector.”

It said the health directorate of MCI had started an anti-dengue campaign in urban Islamabad since January 2021 in accordance with the guidelines of World Health Organisation and the government of Pakistan.

“Dengue fever is a social disease and it cannot be controlled without involvement of students who can be utilised to spread anti-dengue messages at their homes and communities. You are reiterated to start ‘zero periods on dengue prevention and control’ in your schools, which should compromise information that citizens should not let water collect inside or outside homes, especially in water coolers, pet feeding pots, unused tyres, broken utensils or in other pots. Do not go out at dusk and dawn, keep the home environment clean and if required spray inside and outside of homes,” Dr Orooj suggested.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2021

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