-Dawn
-Dawn

CHINIOT: The Chiniot district health authority has enhanced healthcare services for the people of Chiniot without any additional funding from the Punjab government.

The authority refurbished 10 basic health units (BHUs) and one rural health centre (RHC) to improve service delivery for both general patients and mother and child healthcare.

Chiniot district, with 34 BHUs, had long been facing deteriorating healthcare facilities, Health Chief Executive Officer Dr Tariq Sohail told Dawn on Monday.

He said many BHUs operated without medical officers and necessary paramedics. Moreover, their buildings were in urgent need of repairs, medical equipment was outdated, and sterilization equipment necessary for safeguarding patients against communicable diseases was missing.

Despite the presence of lady health workers in each village, they often chose to refer delivery cases to private hospitals, motivated by lucrative commissions, instead of availing the free services provided by BHUs. Ambulances allocated to these units were reportedly misused for personal purposes by staff and drivers.

The authority tool phased initiative to improve MCH services, reduce maternal and infant mortality rates, enhance access to essential healthcare, promote family planning, and strengthen community engagement for sustainable healthcare outcomes. Dr Sohail said that in the initial phase, 10 BHUs and one RHC had been revamped, with plans for the second phase to upgrade 12 BHUs and one RHC.

In the first phase, labour rooms have been upgraded with the installation of air conditioners, delivery sets, ultrasound machines, oxygen concentrators, suction machines, delivery tables, sterilizers, and baby warmers, tailored to specific requirements. Also, the newborn nursery in Chiniot District Headquarters Hospital has been refurbished, and a pediatric consultant has been appointed to address newborn health concerns.

Dr Sohail said health education programmes, launched by the authority, reached 90 per cent of the population of the district, which have increased awareness of maternal and child health issues and improved patient care in hospitals.

He said a robust monitoring and evaluation system has been implemented to track the progress of MCH programmes, with regular reports generated and data-driven adjustments made to ensure effectiveness and responsiveness to community needs.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2024

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