QUETTA           -             Almost 780 pregnant women die every year in Balochistan due to lack of maternity health facilities at hospitals and clinics, according to a report by the Balochistan Institute of Research and Development.

The province has 28 public hospitals, 550 basic health units and 90 childcare and maternity health clinics. However, at 90% of these hospitals, specialist female doctors are not available.

Many of these hospitals and clinics do not have trained staff either. The reason behind the overwhelming number of deaths is that pregnant women from areas such as Nasirabad, Sibbi, Loralai and Kech have to travel to either Quetta or Karachi to receive basic healthcare facilities.

“By the time they reach here, their condition just worsens,” said Javeria Tareen, CEO of the Balochistan Institute of Research and Development. “Clinics and hospitals in other areas of Balochistan don’t have vents or even oxygen cylinders,” she said. Another problem that occurs is that the ambulance fee to shift patients from smaller districts to cities is very high.

Almost Rs12,000 is charged to take one patient, said Arif, an incharge at Civil Hospital.

Apart from public hospitals, centres for safe injections are also scarce. On paper, a centre is required to be built after every 500 kilometres.

The Balochistan government is conducting surveys to confirm whether these centres have been built and are functioning.