KARACHI - Public sector hospitals of Sindh province have been facing acute shortage of life-saving medicines and disposal surgical instruments for the last six months due to poor planning and lethargy of authorities concerned of Sindh Health Department. 

The visiting patients of Sindh’s hospitals, including Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Sindh Government Lyari General Hospital, Sindh Government Hospital Liaquatabad, National Institute of Child Health (NICH) and others, are being asked to purchase medicines from their own pockets as public hospitals are facing an acute shortage of medicines and surgical items due to bureaucratic hurdles in the central procurement system for medicines.

Similarly, health facilities of Hyderabad, Larkana, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, Shaheed Benazirabad and other cities are also facing shortage of life-saving drugs. The medicines for patients, who are suffering from chronic diseases like, hepatitis C, TB, and other systemic diseases, are also not available in government sector hospitals.

The Sindh Health Department had introduced centralised system in 2014-15 to purchase life-saving drugs for all the hospitals in order to control corruption and other irregularities in purchasing medicines. Since then, about 85 percent medicines for all the public hospitals in Sindh are being procured through a centralised system, while 15 per cent are procured locally.  

The shortage of medicines has further deepened in health facilities in all over the Sindh province as supply of life-saving drugs has not started yet despite passage of two quarters of fiscal year 2018-19 due to delay in tender process. All the major hospitals of Sindh have been facing acute shortage of life-saving drugs and surgical items.

An administrative official at Civil Hospital Karachi told that provision of medicines and surgical instruments to 7,000 OPDs and 1,500 emergency patients on daily basis had become much difficult for administration.

He said crises of drugs and other items are worsening with each passing day.

He added that delay in the issuance of tenders for the central procurement of medicines as well as a rise in the value of dollar were two major causes of the shortage of medicines as importers of surgical items and imported medical stuff were reluctant to provide these supplies on older rates.

Executive Director, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Dr Seemin Jamali while talking to media said tender for procurements of medicines and surgical items through central procurement system should be issued in June or July every year instead of December to avoid crises like situation.

She admitted that health facility had been facing shortage of medicines due to delay in issuance of tenders for the procurement of medicines.

She added that the JMPC was acquiring drugs for needy patients from philanthropists and non-governmental organizations to overcome crises like situation.

The heads of others major hospitals of Karachi also confirmed that they had been facing an acute shortage of medicines and surgical items as supply of life-saving drugs from health department could not start yet despite passage of six months which had compelled patients to buy medicines and other medical items from their own pockets.