Attock-The tall claims of provincial health department for provision of better health services by the present government proves to be just an eyewash when one observes the poor and sorry state of affairs of Mother and Child Health Centre Kahal located in far-flung and remote area of teshil Jand in district Attock which is dilapidated and in shambles. 

Abdul Wahid, a retired army official told this journalist that the Mother and Child Health Centre was established in the area in year 1995 and inaugurated by then Chairman District Council Malik Atta Muhammad Khan. The centre was established here as it was centre point of 10 adjacent villages of union council Bassal having facility of railway station and post office. He said that centre was established with an aim to cater to the medical needs of around 30 thousand population of the area comprising around 10 villages. Prominent among them are Damal, Kamalpur, Sher Jang, Ratti Kassi, Dhoke Akbarabad, Dhoke Kalla, and Kund. The aim was to especially facilitate pregnant women and new borns as it was located in a remote area which had no medical facility in 30 kilometres radius. Child mortality in this area was highest in the district. He said that many letters were written to Chief Minister, Punjab Health Minister, Deputy Commissioner, And Chief Executive Officer District Health Authority but the concerned authorities paid no heed. Muhammad Khan, another resident of the area informed that keeping in view the problem, a delegation of notables of the area met Chief Executive Officer District Health Authority in Attock and apprised him about the problems faced by the residents of the area but he declined to help them as according to him this centre was under the administrative control of district council and district health authority has nothing to do with it.

He said that the centre was literally dysfunctional since 10 years when the lone dispenser retired. He said that as the centre was under the administrative control of district council, it remained neglected by the health authorities.

He said that situation become bad to worse when the district councils were dissolved in May 2019 following the promulgation of the Punjab Local Government Act 2019, and the centre was shifted to administrative control of district health authorities but as it remained out of sight of authorities concerned and due to no check and balance, the centre remained dysfunctional despite tall claims of much publicised health reforms by present and successive government. He said that it is astonishing that three employees were getting salary without working and concerned authorities remained in slumber for almost 10 years. He also raised a question as physical assets including machinery and equipment are missing and only building is standing in shambles. Shahnawaz Khan, another resident of the area told this reporter that the absence of proper health services in the area by the government left the poor residents of the area rely on private healthcare and due to absence of proper monitoring of private health care system, the poor masses can’t afford it.

An inside source in health department said that the health authorities were not even aware of the fact that the centre was shifted from defunct district council to district health department and the three staff members were drawing salaries sitting at their home without working.

When people of the area wrote an application to provincial authorities about this state of affairs, the health authorities in a bid to save their skin from any departmental inquiry for gross negligence as well as to get rid out of the embarrassment, the district health authorities just issued show cause notice to three employees and accounts official for drawing salaries without working.

When contacted, Assistant Commissioner Jand Hassan Nazir confirmed that the centre is dysfunctional since long and not in operational condition. Responding a question, he said that the building maintenance has not been carried out due to paucity of funds and as the centre is established in far flung and remote area, no health official is willing to work there.

When contacted, Deputy District Officer Health Dr Shahida Khattak, confirmed that the centre is dysfunctional since 2005 and so far health department has not taken administrative control of the centre due to different reasons. She said that as the centre was previously working under district council and was later handed over to health department, so department has no adequate funds and staff to run the centre. She said that as the issue was brought to the notice of the administration and health authorities by notables of the area, the health department would move the Sanctioned New Establishment for the appointment of required medical and paramedical staff to the provincial health department.

However, when contacted, District Health Department Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Sohail Ejaz said that DDHO Jand was looking into the matter to resolve the issue.