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November 26, 2018

SHC seeks report on availability of facilities, doctors at CHK

Karachi

November 26, 2018

The Sindh High Court has directed the health secretary to submit a detailed report with regard to the provision of health care facilities, security, availability of doctors and medicines, and working conditions of the medical equipment at Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK).

The directives came on the petition filed by Saba whose three-year-old son Noman disappeared from the OPD of the hospital’s children’s ward on May 28. The petitioner submitted that her child went missing from the hospital and his whereabouts are still unknown. The medical superintendant of Civil Hospital had earlier submitted in his report that the CCTV camera of the OPD ward was not functional.

The petitioner also complained of the lack of proper medical facilities, non-availability of doctors, medical equipment and medicines. At the previous hearing, the court had ordered a judicial inspection of CHK and directed the district and sessions judge (East) to submit a report on health care facilities, availability of doctors and medicines.

The health secretary had earlier submitted a statement with regard to availability of healthcare facilities at CHK. The MS of the hospital has also raised objections on the sessions judge’s report.

An SHC division bench headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto observed that the statement of the health secretary was not particularly satisfactory in responding to the queries raised by the court.

It further stated that the reports filed by the secretary and CHK MS still shows that the government of Sindh was prima facie falling short of its obligation to provide adequate healthcare to the patients who visit the hospital because of the lack of functioning equipment at its hospital. It is the fundamental right of each citizen to be provided adequate health care as this would be right to life of a citizen, the bench observed.

The court directed the health secretary to submit a compliance report with regard to non-functional equipment and its proper repairing. Regarding the shortage of doctors at CHK, the court was informed that the Sindh Public Service Commission has been approved in July to fill the vacant posts, however, no progress has been made so far. The court directed the SPSC to file a report on the progress being made in appointments on the vacant posts.

The court directed the hospital’s MS to file his personal affidavit that no medicines which ought to be provided free of charge are being charged to the patients. The secretary was also told to remove all encroachments inside and outside the hospital, including private medical stores which were creating hurdles to bringing patients in in case of emergency.

The court also directed the health secretary to submit a detailed report on the provision of health care facilities, security, availability of doctors and medicines, and working conditions of the medical equipment at CHK.

The MS was directed to submit steps being taken to rectify the deficiencies noted in the sessions judge’s report and also to submit a timeframe on when the issues would be resolved. The court also directed the finance secretary to appear in person and appraise providing of funds for the betterment of health facilities at the hospital.

Moreover, the court directed the joint investigation team to hold its fourth session and also referred the matter to the provincial task force for appropriate steps to ascertain the whereabouts of the missing child. The hearing was later adjourned till December 19.

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