Despite the high claims of the government, the people have been facing great difficulties in getting health facilities particularly medicines at the district and tehsil headquarters hospitals as well as basic health units (BHUs) across Sialkot district.

Though the provincial government spends billions of rupees for the development and betterment of the health sector, the provision of facilities are not ensured at Govt Allama Iqbal Memorial DHQ/Teaching Hospital Sialkot, Govt Sardar Begum Memorial Hospital and THQ hospital in Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils.

An average 15,000 patients visit the government health facilities daily in Sialkot district. With Rs100 million budget for medicines, each patient could get medicines worth 15 paisas daily. The low budget for medicines is adding to the woes of the rural patients.

The department spends Rs300 million annually on the purchase of medicines for patients at the health facilities where almost 15,000 indoor and outdoor patients reach for treatment daily. These hospitals lack the necessary medicines including hepatitis vaccine and anti rabies/ snake biting vaccine.

Moreover, there is no burn unit, MRI Scan, endoscopy, CT scan, ultrasound and X-ray facilities at any government health facility in Sialkot including the DHQ. The patients in critical condition are often referred to Lahore for their emergency treatment.

There are 88 basic health units (BHUs) and seven rural health centers (RHCs) in Sialkot district and the annual budget of medicines for these BHUs is Rs12 million. Daily 50 to 100 patients visit each BHU for medication. The budget of medicines was low against the growing number of patients.

Thus, the government spends only Re1 on medicines for every each patient at these BHUs in a year. The nasty situation should be a point of grave concern for the government, the budget and policy makers and especially local elected representatives. The allocation of budget continues for the last several years and local elected representatives in Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils, had allegedly made no efforts to get the budget increased.

However, EDO (Health) Javaid Warraich when contacted said that the Health Department has purchased medicines worth Rs100 million for the patients at the three THQ hospitals, 88 BHUs and 7 RHCs in Sialkot district, in a bid to overcome the shortage of the medicines.

He claimed to bring betterment in the overall condition of the government health facilities in Sialkot district. Though the officials claimed to purchase medicines of 250 kinds for the government health facilities in Sialkot district, but the patients have been suffering great ordeal in getting medicines.

Health officials said that they had repeatedly brought the nasty budget situation into the concerned high ups of department during last years, but no one ever paid attention to the issue. In Sambrial, Rural Health Dispensary Sambrial has also become a ghost house due to the alleged height of negligence of the health department. This dispensary lacks all the basic facilities while its ancient building is crumbling.

The buildings of BHUs at villages Lorhiki, Talhara, Ghueinki and Sehjokala, Randheer, Kotli Loharaan, Verowala Cheema, Beeni Sulehrian, Mehdipur and Sahowala had been declared dangerous. But, the doctors, paramedics and other staff were still performing their duties there in a great risk.

The dangerous declared building of Basic Health Unit (BHU) in Lorhiki (Daska tehsil) here. The said building had been constructed in 1990 (25 years ago). But, due to alleged use of substandard construction material in this construction, now the big cracks have appeared in all the walls, roofs of rooms, floors and rooms of the said BHU building. Due to which, the building was in shambles, which was feared to collapse at any time. However, the doctor and paramedics were still performing their duties there and they check 50 to 65 patients daily there.

It was learnt that no one had ever allocated funds even a single penny has yet been provided for the repairing or re-construction of these dangerous declared BHUs buildings, ironically. The local people urged the government high-ups to look into the matter in the large public interest.