Thursday August 18, 2022

Only two gynaecologists serving entire Tharparkar?

July 02, 2022

KARACHI: Due to harsh working conditions, departmental pressure, lack of facilities and poor remuneration, the two gynaecologists based at Civil Hospital Mithi in district Tharparkar, have been ‘trying their best’ to get transferred to Karachi or Hyderabad, The News has learnt.

District Tharparkar, which is spread over 19,637 square kilometers with a population of 1.8 million people, only has two gynaecologists, who have been working in Civil Hospital Mithi. On the other hand, not a single trained and qualified gynaecologist is serving at any public or private sector health facility in the adjoining district Umerkot, having a population of 1.5 million people and spread over 5,608 square kilometers, the officials in the health department revealed.

“There were three trained and qualified gynaecologists in district Tharparkar, two in Mithi and one in taluka Chachro. The gynaecologist at Chachro is absent for the last four months and it is very unlikely that she would join her post again. The remaining two gynaecologists, based in Civil Hospital Mithi have been trying their best to get transferred to Karachi or Hyderabad. If this happens, only God knows what would happen to the pregnant women and their unborn babies”, a senior official in the Sindh health department said on condition of anonymity.

Sindh health department recently announced to serve one of the two gynaecologists at Civil Hospital Mithi, Dr Mohini Gotham with a show-cause notice for referring a pregnant lady to Hyderabad with head of her baby within her body after the baby was decapitated at a missionary hospital in Chachro area as female gynaecologist was not available at the public health facility.

A visit to Civil Hospital Mithi and interviews with health officials and doctors revealed that daily seven to eight normal deliveries and around three to four cesarean sections are performed at the health facility, for which pregnant women from far flung areas of Tharparkar, Umerkot, Mirpurkhas and even Badin districts are brought to Civil Hospital Mithi.

“One of the two gynaecologists, Dr Mohini is facing three criminal cases despite serving here in Tharpakar for the last 12 years and saving hundreds of lives of pregnant women and infants. A couple of years back, a pregnant woman had died at Civil Hospital Mithi as blood was not available at the hospital and could not be arranged from other facilities. The relatives of the deceased had lodged a criminal case against her and she has been facing the charges for the last two years”, the health department official, who requested anonymity, told The News.

He further said the other gynaecologist, who is from Karachi is also fed up of harsh conditions, lack of facilities at the health facility as well absence of any entertainment in the area and trying her best to get transferred to Karachi. When asked how much remuneration was being paid to those doctors by the health department, he said both of them get Rs140,000 ‘Thar allowance’ in addition to their regular salaries, which becomes around Rs300,000 per month but added that it was not enough for them as even midwives in Tharparkar were earning more money than these two lady doctors.

“These two healthcare professionals are dealing with dozens of patients on daily basis from all the talukas of Tharparkar, including Nangarparkar, Chachro, Diplo as well as district Umerkot, Islamkot in addition to adjoin districts. Without any prior history of the patient, often in the absence of blood at the blood bank and other facilities, they perform cesarean section and get the babies delivered. If either of them gets sick, the other one has to perform duty for several days without any break”, the official claimed.

When contacted, both the gynecologists, including Dr Mohini Gotham and Dr Umme Salma confirmed that they were trying to get transferred to their home towns, including Hyderabad and Karachi. Confirming that there were only two gynaecologists, serving at the Civil Hospital Mithi at the moment, Director General Health Sindh Dr Jumman Bahoto said the department has been trying to hire more trained and qualified healthcare professionals for Tharparkar and Umerkot, adding that even a special Thar allowance amounting to Rs140,000 is paid to officials of 18 grade or above.“But it is true that female healthcare professionals are not willing to serve on the present salary and allowances in district Tharparkar and adjoining areas, Dr Bahoto added.