The saddening scene of women carrying her child in a basket in Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar for medical treatment is a wakeup call for the health authorities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The previous government had allocated a huge chunk of budget to the Health sector. Allocation in budget estimates 2017-18 for health department was increased from Rs 5,521.645 million to Rs 35,496.385 million, which shows an increase of 39pc. Also, a whopping sum of Rs 3,182.586 million was allocated for Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) Peshawar. The previous government enacted Medical Teaching Institution (MTI) Act in 2015 to make the hospitals administration autonomous in dealing with its affairs. Many high paid posts were created in the hospitals. Thousands of new doctors were recruited in the province while their salaries were increased manifold. Institutional based private practice was started inside the public hospitals. These were aimed at providing better health healthcare facilities to the people.

Unfortunately, no real change in healthcare has been witnessed inside the hospitals in terms of better healthcare. The poor patients are still running from post to pillar to get the desired medical treatment inside the public hospitals. The number of doctors and capacity of OPDs have not being increased according to the increasing number of patients. The outdated equipments and old-aged laboratories can hardly meet the patient’s needs. The arrogant behavior of doctors and nurses further add to the woes of patients. Moreover, no new big hospital has been constructed in Peshawar while its population has increased manifold due to rural-urban migration.

There is dire need of constructing new big hospitals in Peshawar, besides, upgrading the existing ones. Designated hospitals or separate units within a hospital for specific diseases should be established. Public-private partnership should be encouraged inside hospitals for carrying out tests. Complaint boxes should be erected inside hospitals. The government must understand that no cosmetic changes will bring any improvement in healthcare unless a clear direction is adopted.

SAYYAD KHAN,

Peshawar, October 24.