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Saturday November 27, 2021

Patients death at KTH due to lack of oxygen: Opposition in KP Assembly demands health minister’s resignation

December 08, 2020

PESHAWAR: The combined opposition in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday severely criticized the provincial government for deaths of coronavirus patients due to lack of oxygen at the Khyber Teaching Hospital and demanded the resignation of Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra over the sad incident.

The opposition parties constituted its own committee to probe the issue of shortage of oxygen and the alleged negligence of hospital staff that led to the death of at least seven patients in Peshawar Khyber Teaching Hospital on Sunday.

Led by Awami National Party (ANP)’s deputy parliamentary leader and former deputy speaker Khushdil Khan, the committee will present its own report within seven days which would be made public on the mass media and social media.

Other members of the committee are Malik Zafar Azam and Naeema Kishwar of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Inayatullah Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Nighat Yasmin Orakzai of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Shagufta Malik of ANP.

The opposition benches showed dissatisfaction on the remarks of Health Minister Taimoor Saleem Jhagra during the assembly session who had said that Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had ordered an inquiry into the KTH incident. Taimur Saleem Jhagra, who is finance minister but is holding additional charge as health minister, claimed that the staff found involved in the oxygen shortage issue would be punished for negligence.

The minister said according to initial report the oxygen level was not monitored at 12.00 midnight whereas about 3,000 cubic meters of oxygen was required on a daily basis for the patients put on ventilators.

He said that the MTI was an autonomous and independent entity set up to run the hospital, but the government must keep a check over it. He added that the treasury benches would welcome positive criticism over the healthcare system and other sectors.

Earlier, PPP’s Nighat Yasmin Orakzai maintained that the KTH incident had exposed all the tall claims of the PTI government about improvement in the healthcare system. She claimed that deaths due to shortage of oxygen were more than six and demanded that the health minister should accept it as the failure of his department and resign immediately.

PML-N’s Sardar Muhammad Yousuf said the criminal negligence of hospital staff had claimed precious human lives and if the provincial government did not punish the culprits the public hospitals would lose credibility among the general public. Mian Nisar Gul Kakakhel of the JUI-F said that an officer at Khyber Teaching Hospital was given extra charge of monitoring oxygen level but he could not perform his duty causing the shortage and taking lives.

He claimed that the coronavirus patients were not being looked after properly though they needed to be treated at special wards of major hospitals of the province. ANP’s Sardar Hussain Babak pointed out that the PTI government had claimed that the healthcare system in the province had been improved, but the frequent changes in the portfolio of health damaged the Health Department.

“Unfortunately, the PTI did not get a permanent and proper health minister and this important department is being run on a temporary basis,” he added. The KP Assembly also approved three bills including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organization Amendment Bill 2020, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Amendment Bill and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Care Service Amendment Bill.

The House approved an adjournment motion for a general debate pertaining to the closure of educational institutions due to the coronavirus pandemic in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The motion was moved by ANP parliamentary party leader Sardar Hussain Babak who claimed that the federal government could not interfere in the matters related to the education of any province after the passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment.