DHQ Hospital at Gilgit

Published October 15, 2008

THROUGH the columns of your esteemed newspaper, I would like to draw the attention of the higher authorities of the Northern Areas Administration and the Kashmir Affairs Division towards the deteriorating condition of the District Headquarters Hospital, Gilgit.

The DHQ Hospital in Gilgit is a major tertiary care unit in the whole of the Northern Areas catering to a population of more than 1.5 million, most of which lives in far-flung areas. But the hospital is in a pathetic condition. Most of the doctors are absent from duty for several days a week and even if they come, they come at around 11am and leave at 1pm. There is always a scarcity of medicines.

Referring to a personal experience, I accompanied a relative to the DHQ Hospital recently. Since I am the only educated young man in my village, my relative expected me to take care of her in the hospital. But once there, no doctor was available to examine her even though it was 1130 in the morning.

Once I located a doctor, he demanded a fee of Rs200 although he was not supposed to ask for a fee.

I went to the MS who advised me to pay the amount if I wanted treatment. Later on they charged me Rs700 for medicines, although it was written in bold letters at the entrance that no money will be charged for medicines.

As an ordinary citizen I ask the bureaucrats concerned as to what accountability mechanism they have in place for such behaviour in public hospitals. The MS was recently suspended by the Federal Services Tribunal for submitting a fake degree from the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, regarding his academic qualification. Why is such a person the MS of an important medical facility?

I don't know when the time will come when ordinary citizens like me will be treated with respect and dignity.

NASIR HUNZAI

Shishkat village

Hunza, Gilgit

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