A huge population of almost 0.5 million of Tehsil Mailsi has been deprived of basic healthcare as Tehsil Headquarters Hospital (THQ) is being run with three doctors against the sanctioned strength of 14.

A survey conducted by The Nation revealed that functioning of the 150-bed Tehsil Headquarters Hospital (THQ) has almost been crippled by the acute shortage of doctors, depriving the population of entire tehsil of basic healthcare. It has been learnt that the approved strength of doctors for the THQ Hospital is 14, but unfortunately it has been run with only three doctors for the last two months.

The THQ Hospital emergency is running without any doctor while there is no doctor in Surgery and Maternity departments. The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that there is no Medical Superintendent in the THQ Hospital, the only main healthcare facility in the entire tehsil.

According to the hospital record, there are two or three patients admitted to the hospital and if it happens any patient with serious ailment or injuries is brought to the hospital, he/she is (simply) referred to Nishtar Hospital Multan or Bahawal Victoria Hospital Bahawalpur. It has been learnt that a mere 4 percent of the total population of the tehsil dare to come to the hospital for only bandage and not treatment.

It is ironic that a healthcare facility that has been costing the national exchequer more than Rs100 million annually in expenses besides almost Rs25 million in salaries of the staff but dispensing nothing and has turned into a white elephant.

On the other hand, the government, despite tall claims, failed to check the situation and make timely appoint of doctors to ensure effective healthcare to the poor masses.

Local elected representatives are also responsible for the worst situation as no politician ever bother to monitor the functioning of the hospital. A local notable, requesting not to be name, lashed out at the local parliamentarians, saying that actually these lawmakers did not want to provide basic facilities to the masses. ‘They (politicians) only come to people when they need vote and after getting elected, they never bother to observe condition of the people who have elected them,” he regretted.

Apart from political party, traders, religious party and NGO are also failed to work for the public welfare and keep a check on the government departments. It has been on the record that the hospital never gets doctor as per the sanctioned strength since its inception. At the same time when the government hospital are crippled and failed to ensure healthcare to the public, private hospitals and clinics flourish, which speak volumes of the apathy on the part of the authorities concerned.

It is to be noted that sometime back, Vehari EDO Health Dr Muhammad Afzal Bashir had promised to appoint doctors at the THQ Hospital at earliest but to no avail. All the officers concerned including the Vehari DCO, EDO Health, DO and DDO health have appeared indifferent to the worst nightmare of the public so far.

The local population in general and social circles and civil society in particularly have demanded Punjab Chief Shahbaz to take notice of the situation and ensure time posting of doctors at the THQ Hospital. They urged the Punjab CM to take notice of the worst negligence and apathy of the officials concerned.