SIALKOT-The people in all the 85 border villages of Bajwat areas have been deprived of healthcare for about four decades. The only Rural Health Centre Kahliyaan-Bajwat needs to be upgraded to the level of tehsil headquarters hospital but is was neglected by all the political regimes.

Established in 1982, the RHC is the only health facility for thousands of people living in far-off Bajwat villages. The local people said that there was a dire need of upgradation of the rural health centre. They said that these Bajwat villages were not under the proper medical and health coverage by the Sialkot health department. The people have to rush to the city after travelling more than 25km for getting the emergency medical treatment.RHC Kahliyaan-Bajwat, once had an ambulance for local patients' transportation to the different hospitals in Sialkot city, but a few years ago, the only ambulance was given under the control of Rescue 1122 Sialkot. Now, the perturbed Bajwat villages' people first have to call the Rescue 1122 for getting the ambulance besides waiting for the time till the arrival of the ambulance to Bajwat villages.

The people said that several deaths of patients particularly of pregnant women have occurred during the last few years before treatment on the way to Sialkot city.

"We have to arrange our own private vehicles for shifting patients from Bajwat villages to different hospitals in Sialkot city," they added. Some other villagers added that handing over the RHC's only official ambulance to Rescue 1122 was not helpful for the villagers, as they often remain unable to get it due to about 35km distance between Bajwat villages and Sialkot city. They said that in case of the patients being in very critical condition, they could not wait for Rescue 1122 ambulance.

RHC incharge Naveed Saddal said that it was providing health facilities for the people of 85 Bajwat villages but these villages were not under the proper medical health coverage. He said that about 200 to 250 outdoor patients daily visit the RHC but there was a dire need of upgradation of the RHC to THQ level. He said that there was total population of 60,000 in Bajwat villages and the RHC was the only health facility for them. The Rescue 1122 Sialkot officials said that it could take at least 30 minutes to reach Rescue 1122 ambulance from Sialkot city to reach Bajwat villages after travelling about 35km distance. They said that almost all the roads leading to the Bajwat villages were shabby the ambulance could not reach on time from Sialkot to Bajwat villages.

When contacted, local MNA Ch Armughan Subhani said that he had brought the nasty situation into the notice of both the federal and Punjab governments. He said he had sought early upgradation of RHC Kahliyaan-Bajwat to the THQ Hospital. District Health Authority CEO Latif Ahmed said that efforts were on to provide medical facilities for the local people.