By Aamir Yasin
RAWALPINDI: The female doctors at the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital are facing innumerable problems due to the absence of separate accommodations as 26 female doctors have to lodge in four rooms temporarily separated from the male doctors` hostel.
While talking to Dawn, the female doctors said they had been complaining about the non-existence of separate hostel for them since long but to no avail. They said that the female doctors on duty also required a room in the hostel to spend some time.
“We are feeling insecure while living in the male hostel. Sometimes, our colleagues misbehave with us. We cannot afford to live outside the hospital. For girls, it is difficult to get a single room on rent,” they said.
Dr Sidra Malik said that she had to share the room in the hostel with five other female doctors. “We have made a timetable to sleep as it is difficult for five of us to sleep simultaneously in a small room,” she said.
She said that the hospital administration should provide them accommodation or establish separate hostel for the female doctors. She said that total 46 female young doctors were working in the DHQ hospital and 26 doctors were residing in four rooms at male doctors` hostel.
“The hospital administration should look into the matter seriously and provide secure space for female doctors,” she said.
Dr. Faryal Shah said if her parents came to know that she was living in male doctors` hostel, they would force her to resign.
She said that the doctors had to work at odd hours and it was difficult for them to reside in the private girls` hostel. “For females, the environment is not conducive. Eve-teasing, insecure environment at private accommodations and transport problems compel us to share the rooms with four or five others,” she said.
Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab Chairman Dr Mohammad Haroon said that the female doctors did not have any separate accommodation at DHQ hospital and they were suffering due to the indifferent attitude of the provincial government towards the female professionals.
He said that the issue had also been raised before Rawalpindi Medical College Principal Prof Dr Afzal Farooqi but he was not ready to do anything to resolve the problem.
He said that the administration of the DHQ hospital took up the issue with Punjab health ministry and it was decided to provide separate accommodations to the female doctors but the project remained in the files. He said the YDA was planning to apprise the Punjab government of the problem and would soon submit a request to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in this regard.
When contacted, DHQ Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Sher Ali Khan said that the hospital administration was aware of the problem and it had prepared a plan to build a separate hostel for female doctors and nurses.
He said the administration had requested the provincial government to release Rs40 million to build female doctors and nurses hostel. He said according to the plan, the 40-room hostel would be constructed.
He said that the administration would also construct doctors` cafeteria and library on the hospital premises to provide maximum facilities to the doctors. He said Chairman RMC Board of Management Dr Mohammad Aslam had assured that the government would release the funds next month.
He said that the hospital administration was taking measures to provide female workers including doctors and nurses a protected environment free of any harassment.