The prevailing political crisis has put the lives of thousands of poor patients in jeopardy as hospitals have not received funds so far meant for the provision of free treatment to poor and deserving patients.

The hospitals used to receive funds worth millions of rupees under Zakat and other heads to offer free of cost treatment to poor patients. However, supply of free medicines to the patients of cancer, Thalassaemia, kidney failure, dialysis and other serious ailments has been suspended for the past two months due to unavailability of funds. Sources disclosed that the provincial government used to release grant worth Rs12 million to Nishtar Hospital and Rs6 million to Children complex Hospital through Zakat Department which was suspended for the past couple of months.

The patients strongly protested against the situation. “We come to the hospital with hope and return in despair. Every time we are told to come back after 10 or 15 days,” said one Allah Bakhsh, a patient registered at a local hospital for the treatment of kidney disease. While talking to this scribe, some other patients lamented that they could not afford private treatment while on the other hand hospitals stopped medicine supply. “We can see ourselves inching towards our death but we can’t do anything. We’re just helpless.

Please do something to save our lives,” another patient namely Qasim requested to the Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif. All the patients urged upon the Punjab Government to release zakat funds forthwith and save thousands of lives across the province.