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Home Health Inadequate Hospital Facilities in Kurram District Endanger Lives

Inadequate Hospital Facilities in Kurram District Endanger Lives

The absence of female doctors in the labor room and the lack of available beds caused significant problems for women in labor, leading to long waits for a delivery bed.

by TNN Editor - 16 May, 2024 432
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"You are perfectly fine; you will have a normal delivery before eight o'clock in the morning, but my baby was dead before eight o'clock in the morning." These words were shared by Sadia, a 35-year-old woman from the Upper Kurram Parachinar district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Speaking with TNN, Sadia recounted her traumatic experience: "Exactly two years ago, I was brought to the district headquarters hospital in an emergency. The nurses checked me in the absence of a doctor. If a female doctor had been present that night, the operation could have been performed on time and my child's life might have been saved."

This issue is not unique to Sadia. Many women in Kurram district complain about the lack of facilities at the hospital. Asiya, who went to the hospital two weeks ago for delivery, faced similar issues. The absence of female doctors in the labor room and the lack of available beds caused significant problems for women in labor, leading to long waits for a delivery bed.

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According to the Election Commission, the current population of Kurram district exceeds 700,000, including around 200,000 women.

Dr. Tahira, a gynecologist at the District Headquarters Hospital, stated that approximately 100 women come for treatment daily. These women come not only from Central Kurram and Lower Kurram but also from Afghanistan, Bagan, and Hangu. Despite the large number of patients, there are only four gynecologists available. The lack of female staff makes it difficult to provide timely treatment.

Dr. Tahira also highlighted the shortage of basic necessities at the hospital. In emergencies, women are often referred to Peshawar due to the lack of a CCU and ICU, but the poor road conditions mean many women die before reaching the city.

Another significant issue is the intermittent electricity supply. The hospital has electricity for only three hours out of every 24, complicating both operations and normal deliveries.

Dr. Mir Hasan Jan, the Medical Superintendent (MS) of the hospital, acknowledged these problems extend beyond women's health services. The entire district headquarters hospital faces numerous challenges, including a shortage of female staff, CT scan and MRI machines, CCU and ICU facilities, an oxygen plant, Doppler ultrasound equipment, solar power, and budget constraints.

Since taking charge in April 2022, Dr. Mir Hasan Jan has been striving to implement reforms. Two additional gynecologists have been posted, bringing the total to four. A nursery ward for premature infants with five incubators has been established, and a trauma center has been constructed. However, due to budget limitations, the hospital structure remains underdeveloped.

Dr. Jan emphasized that despite holding several meetings with the DG Health to address these issues, there has been no positive response yet.