Gul Hamaad Farooqi

CHITRAL

Huge cache of costly medicines has been expired at a Basic Health Unit in Tehsil Torkho where 14 children allegedly died of pneumonia last week as “they were not provided with proper treatment and medicines”.

The unit is being run under Khyber Pakhtunkhwa healthcare project. These medicines are supplied to health units under the national programme for population planning and primary healthcare. The drugs are issued to lady health workers through their respective lady health supervisors. The medicines including Elemental Zing (yes 2 Zink) have been expired in the current month and were found at BHU Khot premises along with record.

Former nazim of Union Council Khot Sher Aziz Baig expressed his concerns over the expiration of the medicines. He said that the medicines were issued to LHWs and they are bound to distribute the same free to the patients and people of their area during door-to-door visits and health campaigns. Last week, the 14 children died of pneumonia as they were not provided with proper treatment and medicines, he alleged. He added that the health staff do not perform their duty and not distribute these medicines to the people.

A Lady Health Worker of Agha Khan Health service centre told this scribe regarding the criteria of returning expired medicines. She said that they inform their immediate medical officer before 6 months of expiry date and return it before four months. But unfortunately, the officers could not return the medicines timely. As a result, not only the national exchequer suffered heavy loss but also the deserving poor were kept deprived of the facility.

A local woman belonging to Khot revealed that the lady health workers visit their house seldom and they did not come regularly. She said that they distributed only anti-worms medicines for children. When contacted, District Health Officer Dr Israrullah at first tried to fully support the health teams but later admitted that the doctors were responsible for monitoring and assuring the distribution of these medicines to the masses.

He condemned the negligence which had caused a huge loss to the national kitty. He said that he would issue notices to district support manager to explain the negligence. It is worthy to mention here that the children were died at Khot valley but doctors and staff were absent from duty.

Haider Hussain, a medical technician, repeatedly requested this scribe not to raise the issue. He was asked where is the staff, doctors or lady health workers but no one was present there. Social and political circles of Chitral urged the health high-ups to conduct an inquiry into the issue.