I am a concerned student who wishes to highlight the deteriorating condition of the government-administered hospitals in the country. A place that functions to eliminate germs, bacteria and infections, one would imagine, should be a model of cleanliness and hygiene. However, the reality is in stark contrast to this perception. The appalling conditions at the Civil Hospital, Karachi, are an evidence of this sad fact. The wards in this hospital are infested with cockroaches, termites, rats, stray dogs and cats that roam about freely within its premises. The walls are covered in grime and graffiti. An unpleasant stench fills the patients' rooms, not just because all the drains of the building are clogged permanently. In short, the patients are being kept in an environment so unhealthy and unsafe that they are absolutely unacceptable for a medical facility in this day and age. I strongly urge the relevant authorities to do something. -MONA, Karachi, via e-mail, February 23.