KARACHI                   -             Out-patient departments (OPDs) at several hospitals in Sindh were made operational again on Thursday, a day after the Sindh government issued the directives that came in the wake of the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s (CJP) remarks against their closure.

CJP Gulzar Ahmed had on Monday bemoaned the government’s decision to shut down health facilities for people suffering from ailments other than Covid-19 by closing OPDs in all hospitals across the country in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Patients suffering from other ailments have been left at the mercy of God,” the chief justice regretted. “What kind of medical emergency is this where even people suffering from diabetes or those having a heart condition can go neither to government-run hospitals nor to private clinics,” Justice Gulzar observed during an SC hearing on Monday.

Low attendance

On Thursday, Dr Seemin Jamali, executive director of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical College said that although OPDs have opened, the number of patients has reduced due to the lockdown.

“Previously, up to 5,000 patients came to OPDs every day, but now only 350-380 people come daily,” she said, adding that the number of people who came to the emergency department had also reduced.

Jamali added that OPDs at the JPMC and the National Institute of Child Health never closed in the first place but both had seen a reduction in the number of patients. Addressing concerns about overcrowding, she said that JPMC has deployed security to prevent crowding.

Meanwhile, a senior hospital official at the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital also confirmed that the hospital opened its OPD today, but expressed concern over crowding of patients.

“The health department should issue standard operating procedures (SOPs) so that this scenario (crowding) can be avoided.

Hospitals should deploy doctors at entrances who examine patients and only allow them in along with one attendant.”However, the OPD at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital remained closed.

Young doctors protest over non-payment of salaries

The Young Doctors’ Association (YDA) on Thursday staged a protest demonstration here at the Civil Hospital for non-payment of 13-month salaries by the provincial government.

Around 200 male and female doctors from Sukkur and Larkana took part in the demonstration.

Addresing the protestors, Dr Abdul Majeed Jatoi said, they had been performing duties at various Quarantine centres without salaries. They needed salaries to feed their families and protective kits to save themselves while carrying out their duties, he added.

He demanded immediate release of their salaries and provision of protective equipment for those performing duties at Quarantine centres.