PESHAWAR - Inaugurated by four successive governments of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa since 1985, the Burn and Trauma Centre at Hayatabad Medical Complex has still not been completed due to which burn patients of the province are referred to Islamabad or other hospitals in the country as the KP hospitals lack required facilities.

After the recent attack in Parachinar, as many as 26 patients were brought to Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar. As some of the injured were suffering from burn injuries, they were referred to Islamabad for further treatment.

The Burn and Trauma Centre at HMC was first inaugurated by Arbab Jahangir Khan, the then chief minister of KP, in 1985. Later, it was again inaugurated by the then chief minister Akram Khan Durrani, followed by another inauguration by the then chief minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti. During the present Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI-led) provincial government, the incumbent chief minister Pervez Khattak also inaugurated the centre but it is still not functional.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the 120-bed Burn and Trauma Centre in HMC was signed between the health department of KP and Workers Welfare Board (WWB), under which the WWB had to construct the facility.

After devolution of several federal departments to the province under the 18th Amendment, no funds were provided by the federal government for this hospital due to differences between the KP and federal government. The total cost of the building increased from Rs532 million in 2003 to Rs765 million currently.

The federal government earlier had expressed commitment to provide funds for construction of the building including basement, first and second floors while the equipment for the hospital was to be arranged by the provincial government but the provincial government was not able to arrange funds for the facility during the last four years.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) agreed to provide Rs1.6 billion for completion of the first-ever trauma, burns and reconstructive surgery centre but the funds have not been provided yet.

An official of the health department said that initially it was planned to start the centre by June 30, 2014 and later the completion date was fixed at June 30, 2015 but owing to lack of funds, the provincial government was finding it hard to complete the project.

He further added that in March 2012, Rs150 million was provided to the project from the president special health package but it still has to receive the amount promised by the federal government from Workers Welfare Board.

Associate Professor and Plastic Surgeon at Hayatabad Medical Complex Dr Tehmeedullah said that each year Peshawar hospitals received around 5,000 patients with burn injuries.

He further said that in Pakistan, in one lakh population, the incidents of burn injuries were around 1,500, adding that in our country burn and explosion incidents occurred more in summer season besides incident of terrorism.

He informed that gas cylinders, electric wires and kitchen cookers explosions were the major cause of burn incidents.

He informed that there were small units established in Lady Reading Hospital, Khyber Teaching Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex for burn injuries but these units could not fulfil the needs of patients and in majority cases the doctors referred the patients to Islamabad or other places in the country.

He added that the centre would start work soon, adding that already the Germen government had established three small burn units in KP, one each in Chitral, Dir and Bannu, adding that if the HMC centre was constructed, it would not only provide treatment to the KP and Fata patients but would also provide training to the doctors.

It is pertinent to mention that Peshawar High Court bench comprising Justice Qaiser Rasheed and Justice Younnas Taheem has also expressed concern over the lack of burn centre in the province and asked the secretary health to submit reply till July 12. The bench also took notice of a woman with burn injuries who was shifted to other province due to lack of facilities in the KP hospitals.

NADER BUNERI