GUL HAMAAD FAROOQUI

CHITRAL

Amid public outcry over the shortage of doctors, medicines and other facilities in Chitral hospitals, most of the issues stem from mismanagement and political interferences in the working in the public sector hospitals, it is learnt.

The similar situation exists at the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Drosh.  People of the area have been up in arms against unavailability of medical officers and specialist doctors at the only hospital in the town for more than 100,000 population. At the hospital, patients also come from across the border.

The government says that there is acute shortage of doctors as medical practitioners do not want to serve in the rural areas and prefer to work in urban areas. There are also 90 vacant posts of doctors in different health centres in Chitral.

Dr Bakhtiaruddin, a THQ Hospital’s doctor whose nephew is member of the National Assembly, has been drawing salary without performing duty for over six years. It seems there is no system and authority to even ask him why he is not attending the patients at his hometown despite availing all the facilities, including occupying a government house.

When contacted, Medical Superintendent Dr Fazale Rabbani confirmed that Dr Bakhtiaruddin was posted at the hospital only on paper but was not performing duty. The MS said he had been working in the hospital for the last two to three years but during the period he had never seen him on duty in the hospital.

“When I assumed the charge, he (Dr Bakhtiar) was marked absent in the hospital but later he used to visit the hospital and by force marked his attendance by overwriting on the register,” Dr Rabbani added. But for many months, he has not come to the hospital even to mark his attendance, the MS said.

The MS also said that Dr Bakhtiar had occupied a house on the premises of the hospital even though he had his own house in the Drosh town. The MS said he had already reported the prolonged absence of Dr Bakhtiar to the district health officer of Chitral. However, he said, he was unable to take any action against the absentee.

Meanwhile, District Health Officer Dr Israrullah expressed his inability to take action against the doctor. He said he could only submit a report to the provincial director general health or to the health secretary but it was up to the higher authorities to take action in this regard.

People of Drosh town told this correspondent that the doctor belonged to a political family of Chitral that’s why he had avoided action for his prolonged absenteeism so far. The local people complained that in the past, his brother Muhayuddin was member the National Assembly and now his nephew Shahzada Iftikharuddin is MNA that is why the Health Department was helpless to take any action against him for his prolong absence from duty.