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October 9, 2019

Health dept hints at handing over NIPA hospital building to NICVD


October 9, 2019

Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho has hinted at handing over a newly constructed hospital building at NIPA to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) for making it operational initially as a chest pain unit (CPU), but she made it clear that the government could not afford to establish a complete hospital in Karachi or anywhere else in the province due to financial constrains in the current fiscal year.

“Yes, we are aware of the fact that Karachi seriously needs another complete cardiac hospital to deal with a large number of heart patients, but we cannot afford to establish another hospital during the current fiscal year. We can hand over the NIPA health facility to the NICVD for starting a chest pain unit initially,” she said while talking to The News on Tuesday.

The provincial health minister said the facility, which is a 400-bed purpose-built hospital, could be converted gradually into a satellite centre of the cardiac hospital. “They can proceed with the NIPA hospital like they did in Lyari. They established a chest pain unit at Lyari General Hospital and gradually upgraded it to a satellite centre where they are performing angiography and angioplasties,” she said and deplored that the Karachi mayor had backed out of a recent announcement to hand over the Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases (KIHD) to the NICVD to convert it into a satellite centre.

The mayor took a U-turn after agreeing a few days back to hand over the KIHD to the Sindh government for making it a satellite centre at a Board of Governors meeting of the NICVD, which was presided over by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah. He was reported to have said he had only agreed to provide space to the NICVD at the KIHD for the establishment of a satellite centre in District Central.

Dr Pechuho maintained that due to financial constraints, the health department was unable to make some onstructed hospital buildings operational as starting a new hospital requires one to two billion rupees at the minimum, but she added that aving trained and qualified human resource, the NICVD could be the most suitable organisation to start the NIPA hospital and gradually convert it into a complete hospital.

Dengue is ‘not lethal’

Regarding the spread of dengue in Karachi, the health minister conceded that the health department had failed to educate and inform the masses about diseases, prevention and precautionary measures, saying their inability to spread social messages, especially containing health advice, was resulting in serious problems for people.

She claimed that dengue is self-limiting and non-lethal disease if proper care was taken and doctors were consulted timely, saying that most people did not follow the advice of doctors and resultantly their condition worsened and they ended up at hospitals.

“The dengue virus causes depletion of platelets in the human body and when their number drops to certain level, internal and external bleeding starts. If a person is diagnosed with dengue fever, he or she should follow the advice of their doctor, take rest, drink plenty of water to keep them hydrated and get their blood count done for platelets count so that the severity of disease could be judged.”

To a query, she said that with proper awareness and right messages to people, many deaths from preventable diseases could be saved. She said various vertical health programs required to be redesigned to incorporate information and awareness component.

“Our focus at the moment is on preventive healthcare, Infection Prevention and Control as well as achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” she said and added that for Infection Prevention and Control, they were trying to train the entire healthcare sector staff, from janitors to paramedics and doctors.

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