NAUSHAHRO FEROZE, Oct 5: The country’s second major dialysis centre, after the one at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) in Karachi, is facing the threat of closure due to an inordinate delay in the release of Rs15 million funds allocated several months back.
The vital health centre had been catering to a large number of patients — coming from within the district as well as Dadu, Khairpur and some other districts daily, besides extending a dialysis facility to over 20 patients a day — until a couple of months back.
However, most patients are being refused the treatment facility by the staff, who have not been paid their salaries since June this year, it has been learnt.
Established within the Civil Hospital Naushahro Feroze in 2010 with 10 dialysis units installed at the facility, the centre runs two shifts a day. It was providing excellent healthcare services when the finance department continued to release its allocated funds on time. However, it did not receive the funds for the year 2012-13 for unknown reasons.
There were reports of some official discrepancies concerning audit, exchange of accounts and other documents between the hospital administration and the health and finance departments etc.
The matter was taken up with Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah by the health department when the provincial cabinet held a meeting in Naushahro Feroze on Aug 4.
After discussing all relevant issues with the officials concerned, the chief minister ordered immediate release of Rs15 million to avoid closure of the centre or any disruption in the delivery of health services at the centre.
Since then, the official in charge of the dialysis centre, Dr Sundardar, has been in constant touch with the health and finance departments for the release of funds as the staff assigned to operate the dialysis machines had not been paid their salaries for three months.
The Naushahro Feroze deputy commissioner was also approached in this regard but he could not help the centre get its funds.
The centre also ran out of essential medicines and at one stage it had to obtain on credit small stocks of medicines from Sukkur and Hyderabad stores. It has been gathered that the centre’s credit balance under this head had risen to Rs800,000 and the stores have refused to oblige it anymore.
The debt on account of fuel to operate generators at the centre has also risen to Rs350,000. District Health Officer Dr Ali Gohar Dahiri told Dawn that he had repeatedly approached the health and finance departments for the release of funds over the past couple of months but without a positive response.