DERA GHAZI KHAN -  The Rural Health Centre (RHC) Kala is prolonged hit by corruption and absenteeism on the part of doctors and other staff and resultantly adding to the problems of the patients and their families, officials admit.

Four years ago, it was upgraded from Basic Health Unit (BHU) to Rural Health Centre but still the district administration could not create ensure the posting of doctors and other required staff. It has failed to provide medical facilities around the clock as the other RHCs do.

The required posts are of senior medical officer (SMO), one WMO and four nurses, homeopathic doctor, Hakim, junior clerk, medical technician, female medical technician,  more one LHVs, four rural health inspectors, anesthesia assistant, two sweepers, four sanitary workers which have not been sanctioned yet.

Poor healthcare has put a big question mark on the tall claims of the government. Thousands women of the town have been seeking a regular female medical officer in the hospital since long. The RHC has been facing hardship due to lack of staff, absenteeism, mismanagement, malpractice, lab tests facility as well as corruption in the purchase of medicines and other items.

Local residents said one lady health visitor (LHV) having a two-year diploma after matric is performing as woman medical officer in the hospital whereon thousands of women and newborns depend for treatment as the WMO concerned usually remain sabsent from her duty.

Even one medical technician namely Javed Iqbal treats the patients in absence of the medical officer. Aziz Khan, a local resident, blamed that the lack of basic medical facilities like radiography (X-ray), electrocardiography (ECG), Lab and ultrasonography had now become unbearable for the public.

Low standard drugs and even lack of sanctioned staff including two nurses, one computer operator, one senior clerk, one lab technician, one sanitary inspector, one dresser, one operation theatre assistant (OTA), one Lab Assistant, two midwives, one driver, two sweepers and one Naib Qasid have affected the people of the region.

An official on the condition of anonymity said the hospital building especially dirty labour room had not been repaired for many years. Staff residences have not built; only one dilapidated residence of doctor is available. He noted that the hospital staff was involved in theft of hospital medicines, funds, POL and looting poor patients in the name of treatment.

He disclosed district administration DG Khan spends annual budget of Rs13.275 million of the hospital while the medical concerned officer is powerless regarding funds spending. He said that the administration spent the annual budget 2015-16 & 2016-17. He demanded an inquiry into Rs2.5 million funds utilised for purchasing of medicines, Rs144,000 for non-practicing allowance, Rs5,000 for telephone, Rs20,000 for hot and cold weather charges, Rs50,000 for transportation of goods, Rs250,000 for POL charges, Rs35,000 for printing and publication, Rs7,000 for news paper/books, Rs6,000 for advertisement charges, Rs60,000 for fairs and national celebrations, Rs100,000 for bedding and clothing, Rs150,000 for cost of other stores, Rs40,000 for transport, Rs60,000 for machinery and equipment repairing, and Rs30,000 for furniture and fixture.

He revealed the funds for telephone are being consumed without facility of landline telephone; likewise POL funds are being utilised without driver and generator availability. Similarly, the funds are being consumed through fake bills.

When contacted, Medical Officer Bashir Ahmad denied the allegations of the absenteeism of staff; misuse of funds. He disclosed he is not drawing and disbursing the funds. One official of EDO Health DG Khan office namely Asad Bhutta deals with all the financial matters of the hospital.

District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Gul Hassan Shah admitted proper healthcare facilities are not being provided for the patients but it was due to lack of staff. He also confirmed EDO Health DG Khan has power of DDO and is answerable for any inquiry regarding utilisation of funds.