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PESHAWAR, June 7: Delay in release of funds by the federal government has been hampering construction of the first-ever trauma, burn and reconstructive ward in Hayatabad Medical Complex, according to sources.

The officials feared that the already completed infrastructure would get rusted if funds for the second portion of the ward were not provided immediately.

Sources said that federal government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Workers Welfare Board (WWB) in 2009 under which the later was required to provide Rs600 million of the total Rs900 million cost of the 120-bed facility.

The basement, ground and first floor of the ward had been completed from the funds provided by the WWB but the federal government was yet to release Rs230 million it had pledged for construction of the second floor, sources said.

They said that WWF had pledged sponsorship for 60 beds that had been completed while the amount to be paid by the federal government for the remaining 60 bed was still awaited.

“The problem we face is that the completed structure might get affected if construction of the second floor is not started immediately. The wiring, air-conditioning system and other installation work will get wasted,” officials said.

The state-of-the-art ward that will cater to the needs of the patients requiring burn and trauma treatment and reconstructive surgery is also faced with the problem of getting staff. Senior doctors said that they needed about 600 staffers, including plastic surgeons, general surgeons, nurses, paramedics and support staff to run the facility. “However, we will start the process of getting staff after completion of the second floor,” they added.

The ward was also awaiting equipment, list of which had already been sent to from the WWB, they added. “We desperately require the equipment pledged by WWB,” they said.

Professor Mohammad Tahir, head of plastic surgery department at HMC, said that construction of the ward would play role of an umbrella for the entire province.

“We will be providing inputs to the government to start burn and reconstructive surgery wards in other districts because of the increasing needs,” he said.

He said that they were in touch with local health authorities to set up such a unit in Mardan. “At a later stage, we can start such wards in Swat, Dera Ismail Khan, Abbottabad and other districts that are known for terrorism and the people are exposed to getting burn injuries,” he said.

The doctors were taking interest to take up plastic surgery as their specialty owing to which they needed to expand services to other district hospitals. “Presently about 50 plastic surgeons work in Lady Reading Hospital, Khyber Teaching Hospital and HMC in Peshawar,” Dr Tahir said.

“We have also finalised long-term plan to run the facility after the WWF hands it over to provincial health department,” he said.