Public hospitals facing acute shortage of doctors, Sindh Assembly told

Our Correspondent
Friday, May 24, 2024

The Provincial Assembly of Sindh was informed on Thursday that there is an acute shortage of qualified doctors at government-run healthcare facilities in the province because experienced physicians prefer to serve at private hospitals due to better salaries.

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho conceded this fact while responding to written and verbal queries of the concerned lawmakers during the question hour of the PA’s session. The health minister said physicians who are engaged in clinical services in the US become billionaires on the basis of their professional earnings. She said doctors associated with government-run hospitals are not allowed to practise their profession privately, but it is difficult to implement this ban.

She also said doctors have to take the examination conducted by the Sindh Public Service Commission to join the government service, so this additional requirement also compels medical professionals to join private hospitals.

She disclosed that private outpatient departments are being built at public sector health facilities to let doctors engaged in government service do private practice. She also said that a biometric attendance system for doctors would be reintroduced at government-run health facilities.

She informed the House that services of doctors temporarily hired during the coronavirus health emergency are being regularised, while more doctors would also be hired for the public sector health facilities in the province.

Answering a question, the health minister informed the PA that lady health workers (LHWs) should possess the minimum academic qualification of Higher Secondary School Certificate (intermediate-level education). She informed the legislators that there are over 19,000 LHWs in the province.

She said LHWs are also given training to provide first-aid to people who are injured in road traffic accidents. She also said LHWs retire from service at the superannuation age of 60. She added the 1,000 houses would be built with assistance of the Chinese government for the LHWs belonging to the flood-affected areas of the province.

Dr Azra informed the House that the services of LHWs are enlisted to participate in the polio vaccination campaign and identify the parents who refuse to let their children be administered oral polio vaccine.

She said that different officials of the district administrations have been assigned the task of persuading the refusing parents to let their children be administered the polio vaccine. Responding to another question, she said that two trauma centres in the public sector have been functioning: one in Karachi and the other in Larkana.

Red Line delay

Sindh Transport Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon told the PA that a delay had occurred in the construction of the corridor of the Red Line section of the bus rapid transit service due to the inefficiency demonstrated by the caretaker government of the province.

The transport minister was responding to a calling-attention notice of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan MPA Jamal Ahmed on the transport woes of the residents of Karachi.

He said work has resumed to construct the Red Line section, as earlier it had seemed that the project had become a “mission: impossible”. He also said Qingqi rickshaws have been operating in the city on the basis of a stay order granted by the court.