LODHRAN-The situation in Punjab Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI) is very critical as the institute is unable to cater to the needs of the rising number of patients despite its inception a year ago.

According to the official statistics, as many as 136,000 people out of the total population of 1.7 million of Lodhran District are the patients of hepatitis. The district, as per the official data, stands 21st in regard to the number of hepatitis patients. PKLI In-charge Dr Naveed Iqbal told The Nation that it has been more than a year since the institute was inaugurated, saying that the current government has reduced the allocated budget of Rs4 billion to Rs1 billion for all health centres in Punjab due to which difficulties were being faced.

He added: “Due to online system, only 35 patients are attended on a daily-basis while the number of patients coming to the institute is in hundreds, and we are forced to give five month-time to the patients for initial tests.” Patients told The Nation that despite waiting for hours in line, they are not provided with medicines and asked to buy the medicines from private medical stores.

They added that they have to wait for months for initial tests and PCR report, adding that this delay could prove fatal for the patients. They said that the centre was constructed at a cost of millions of rupees, but patients are not being facilitated at the centre. District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) MS Dr Shaukat Ejaz said that after the construction of a separate Liver Institute all the machinery and medicines have been taken away from them. He said that the kidney centre in the DHQ hospital is not under their command, and it is being run by an independent company PKLI.

“Therefore, the provision of medicines and tests is not the responsibility of the DHQ hospital. It is worth mentioning here that with insufficient health facilities, the situation for liver patients is alarming. The government has declared education and health as its priorities, but situation in Lodhran is contrary to the claims made by the government. There is a need to provide the facility of initial tests and PCR’s report in Lodhran so that patients would not have to travel to metropolitans.