Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday, August 16—-August 22, 2008
CHITRAL: The People’s Programme for Healthcare Initiative (PPHI) has yet to solve the basic problem of the acute shortage of doctors in its basic health units (BHUs) in Chitral, the people complained. They said one year ago, the PPHI, then called President’s Programme for Healthcare Initiative, had taken over all the 21 BHUs of the district to improve their functioning which were in disordered form with the result that the patients relied on the DHQ hospital from all the nooks and corners of the district. Most of the BHUs were being run without doctors and without diagnostic facilities while the buildings were in dilapidated conditions.
They said although the PPHI improved the infrastructure of the health units to a good degree but the problems of absence of doctors and diagnostic facilities still persists.
The provision of medicines has also been ensured to all the BHUs in sufficient quantities but without a doctor who will prescribe the medicines, they asked. The PPHI has so far appointed only four doctors for the 21 BHUs, they said, adding the number is quite insufficient and meaningless.
A doctor has to cover three or more BHUs simultaneously which is humanly not possible as the population is sparse and the distance between the BHUs are very large to be covered on daily basis. They said the joint-doctor of the BHUs encamps himself in one BHU and visits the others very seldom due to the problems of communication as the doctor has no transport facility at his disposal to go to the other stations at will while it takes two days or more if one walks on feet, they said. The situation worsens in the winter season when due to the snow and avalanches, it become more difficult to move from one valley to another. Citing example, they said that the Nishko BHU, where the doctor is stationed, remains cut off from Terich, Rech and Khot valleys in the winter season for vehicular traffic where BHUs are existing. They questioned that how a lonely doctor can perform duty in such stations, they questioned. Regarding the diagnostic facilities, the residents said that even the presence of doctor is meaningless when there are no diagnostic facilities.
They said that even a simple urine and blood test is not available in the BHU and one has to go to the DHQ hospital for the purpose while without preliminary diagnosis, no treatment is possible. They said that just the renovation of a hospital building is not the solution of the healthcare problems and the provision of medicines will relieve the poor people of the remote areas only when doctors are available to them.-chitraltoday.com