PESHAWAR: Lack of gastroenterology wards at district headquarters hospitals has been affecting the patients suffering from stomach and liver diseases in the province, according to an expert.
“Non-existence of facilities at district headquarters has been resulting in high mortality and morbidities due to stomach and liver ailments. We need to provide services to people at local level to put brakes on the curable diseases,” Dr Mohammad Kamran Hassan, the president of Pakistan Society of Gastroenterology (PSG), told Dawn.
According to him, the PSG, established 40 years ago, is one of the leading societies in the country contributing to the national development through playing an active role to look after gastroenterology and liver disease besides other related issues. PSG also provides training opportunities to young gastroenterologists.
It creates awareness in the society for public education and formulates guidelines in context of the local resources to serve the nation.
Expert says stomach and liver diseases are often mismanaged at local level
Dr Kamran said that one of the major issues, which needed immediate attention, was the shortage of trained service providers in the field of gastroenterology and hepatology in district level hospitals.
“Most of the patients, who have serious illness like blood vomiting or bloody stools and jaundice secondary to pancreatic and biliary disorders, are mostly mismanaged and then referred to tertiary care hospitals where they wait for their turn for weeks,” he said.
He said that the condition of patients, having liver cirrhosis and related complications, was even the worst. “This has increased the mortality and morbidities relating to these serious sicknesses,” he added.
Dr Kamran said that government should appoint fellows of College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) of gastroenterology at the district headquarters hospitals in their own pay scale against district specialist posts to ensure relief to the patients without any financial burden on the public exchequer.
“We have plenty of trained gastroenterologists having completed their fellowship but they have been posted as medical officers at basic health units. We ask government to depute them to district headquarters hospitals. We are ready to work with government to solve this issue amicably,” he said.
Dr Kamran, also a consultant gastroenterologist at Lady Reading Hospital, said that they were planning to launch a new programme for training of their members serving in the periphery so that the sufferings of people could be reduced by providing quality service to them in their native district headquarters hospitals.
To achieve this objective, PSG is planning to start with an endoscopy training centre, which requires backup and support of authorities. Another pressing issue is lack of liver institute in the province. Serious efforts are needed to commence a liver transplant programme.
The number patients with liver cirrhosis, who need liver transplantation, is getting increased day by day. It is need of the hour to think seriously and work on war footings to establish at least one centre for liver transplantation in Peshawar.
Dr Kamran said that non-availability of liver transplant institute was causing health issues among the patients, who had no option except travelling to other cities that not only cost them more money but also deteriorated their health. He said that most of the ailments were curable provided the patients contacted right doctor at right time.
“In the absence of facilities at district level, patients travel to tertiary care hospitals, which are already overburdened with patients,” he said.
Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2023
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