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SHC seeks names for panel to help

KArachi Address fistula patients’ issues, The Sindh High Court on Thursday asked the counsel for a petitioner to submit names of health experts for a committee to look into issues which fistula patients were facing in the province. The court was hearing a petition calling for the utilisation of funds for a national programme to control maternal deaths.

The petitioners, including Dr Shershah Syed, submitted that around5,000 women died during pregnancy in Sindh every year due to a lack of healthcare facilities in rural parts. They said there was a shortage of medical care facilities and trained staff to attend the expecting mothers and handle deliveries in a safe manner.
They said the government had launched the Maternal and Newborn Child Health Programme many years ago. They added that funds earmarked for the programme had never been utilised.

The petitioners said over 1,500 fistula patients hailed from the province where a majority of government hospitals were not providing repair surgery. They pleaded that the provincial government be held accountable for the denial of timely and adequate treatment of obstetric fistula as a violation of women’s fundamental rights under the constitution, including their rights to life and dignity.

They also asked that the authorities concerned be directed to ensure access to affordable treatment of obstetric fistula to all women in Sindh. They said the government should ensure that at least one gynecologist in every district was trained and equipped to provide fistula repair surgery.

A representative of the National Neonatal and Child Health Programme of Sindh briefed the court on efforts made by provincial government to address the issue of slackness. The petitioners’ counsel suggested that a committee be constituted to address the issues highlighted in the petition.The court asked the petitioners to propose the names of experts so that a committee could be constituted for the redressal of the grievances raised in the petition, and adjourned the hearing till June 2.

Heritage sites list A provincial law officer informed the SHC the technical committee of cultural heritage would reconsider a list of 1,061 properties declared protected heritage sites and there was a possibility that the list may be revised.

The court was hearing a petition of Karachi Property Investment Company seeking the de-listing of Hotel Metropol as a heritage site. The petitioner’s counsel said the heritage department issued in May 2011 a list of 1,061 protected heritage sites, including Hotel Metropol, though the hotel had no historical or archeological value. He sought the de-listing the property as a heritage site so that renovation and repair work could be carried out at the site.

The provincial law officer informed the court that the technical committee would reconsider the impugned list and there was a possibility that immovable properties involved in all or most of these properties may be deleted from the list or the entire list may be revised. The court, adjourning the matter till May 24, directed the law officer to submit the technical committee’s findings the list.

The News