KARACHI: Not a very rosy picture of the Sindh health department came out when data relating to children’s death owing to easily curable disease measles, detection of women victims of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (Aids), and vacant posts of doctors in the interior of the province was presented in the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday.
The data was presented by Sindh Health Minister Jam Mahtab Dahar during the question hour — that pertained to the health department –– in Tuesday’s session of the assembly.
At least three of the questions taken up on Tuesday were earlier asked by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional legislator Nusrat Seher Abbasi. But when the speaker called out her name repeatedly, she had joined her party colleagues who were protesting as Shaharyar Mahar of the PML-F was not being allowed by the speaker to talk on a point of explanation. After calling out her name for a few times, the speaker moved to the next question.
In a written answer to a question asked by Ms Abbasi regarding the number of children who died of measles in the province during 2012, the minister said that 209 children had died during the year, with Sukkur leading the tally with 33 deaths followed by Shikarpur with 32 deaths and Larkana 22. In Khairpur, the home district of Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, 16 children had died.
Responding to a question asked by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf legislator Khurram Sherzaman about Aids in women, the minister said that over 455 women had been detected to be suffering from Aids in the province and of them 277 were in Karachi. The next biggest number of women victims of Aids was in Larkana, the home district of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.
He said 74 patients who belonged to other provinces were also found suffering from Aids and 29 of them were foreigners.
Answering another question asked by the same legislator regarding diarrhoea deaths of children between 2011 and 2013 at the Lyari General Hospital, situated in an area considered to be a stronghold of the ruling party in the city, the minister said 4,991 children had died at the LGH during the period. He said 1,691 died in 2011, 1,720 died in 2012 and in 2013 1,580 children died there.
In a written answer to a question asked by Muttahida Qaumi Movement legislator Shiraz Waheed, who was not present in the assembly, about the number of sanctioned posts and the vacant posts in the Civil Hospital Shikarpur as on Jan 1, 2011 and Dec 31, 2013, the minister said of the six grade 19 posts of senior doctors only one doctor was posted while five posts were vacant; while of the 11 sanctioned posts of grade 18 doctors/ surgeons/ specialists only two doctors were posted and nine posts were vacant.
In an answer to a question by MQM legislator Kamran Akhtar regarding the number of sanctioned posts and teaching staff actually working at Ghulam Mohammad Mahar Medical Collage Sukkur, the minister said that of the 135 posts 85 people were posted there while 50 posts were vacant.
Answering another question asked by him regarding the staff position/ status at the Government Hospital Bagerji in Sukkur district, the minister said while the number of posts of doctors at the hospital was 32 and the number of doctors actually working there at present was seven, which showed that 25 posts were vacant.
In a written answer to a question by MQM legislator Rashid Khilji, who was not in the assembly, regarding ambulances fitted with ventilators being given to some hospitals only, the minister said that those ambulances were equipped with sophisticatetd and expensive equipment and were very costly and as only 28 such ambulances were available so six of them had been given to Karachi while others had been given to the hospitals in various district headquarters.
PML-F legislators Imtiaz Shaikh, Nand Kumar, Dr Baanbhan; MQM legislators Rana Ansar, Sabir Kaimkhani, Saleem Rajput, Aisha Khatoon, Heer Soho, Zubair Khan; PPP legislators Dr Bahadur Dahri, Khurshed Junejo, Rukhsana Shah, Mahesh Malani, PTI’s Samar Ali Khan, and others also spoke.