PESHAWAR - Despite a lapse of 10 years, work on Hayatabad Children Hospital Peshawar, an affiliated hospital of Khyber Institute of Child Health (KICH) Hayatabad, could not be completed as the federal government’s lethargic process of releasing funds has hampered the construction work of the lone children hospital in the province. 

For the first time, the foundation stone of the Khyber Institute of Child Health was laid by MMA government in 2007 and later it was decided that a hospital and major paediatric hospital would be established to cater the need of the province as people mostly shift their children to Islamabad for complex child health diseases.

The MMA government had vacated the building of a France-based NGO and spent Rs500 million on the renovation of the building but the hospital construction work was delayed for the time being as renovation was only for Khyber Institute of Child Health.

In this connection, Japan government had pledged to provide $20 million for the construction work of the hospital but they had demanded security guarantees of the funds which was not provided by bureaucrats at that time and ultimately the process of funds transfer was stopped.

USAID had also provided $35 million for the medical equipment of the Khyber Institute of Child Health but despite that the hospital work was not completed.

After the hope for Japan grant, the federal government stopped release of its promised funds of Rs2.209 billion and the construction work was stopped due to non-availability of funds. Later, work was started in 2013 and up till now the work is underway despite lapse of 10 years.

Talking to the Nation, Project Director of Children Hospital Professor Dr Muhammad Younas Paracha said that federal government has released Rs500 million so far and 75 per cent work has been completed on the project. He said that he had assumed the charge as project director for hospital just two months ago.

He informed that release of funds was taking time and they would be thankful if the newly elected government released sufficient funds to complete the hospital before June 2019. He said that shortage of funds is the only reason for snail pace work on this mega children hospital and research centre.

He added that at least 17 specialists in various disciplines of child health would be deputed in the hospital while more academic staff would be hired to collect data about child diseases in the province.

The slow process of the purchase of medical equipment and slow process of bidding have also hampered the work on the hospital while the new trend of hiring consultancy instead of technical committee would further delay the procurement of equipment. All provinces of the country have specialised children care hospitals but Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was still deprived of this facility.