Many BHUs lack maternal health services

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A Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report on Wednesday said some maternity services were found lacking at the basic health units (BHUs), when observed in December 2011.
The FAFEN governance monitors visited 133 BHUs in 87 districts nationwide – 65 in 34 districts of Punjab, 28 in 21 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 24 in 16 districts of Sindh, 13 in as many districts in Balochistan and three in as many agencies of FATA.
The report said more than two-fifth (42 percent) BHUs lacked maternity beds, a third did not have labour rooms and 25 percent were without delivery kits. However, at least 80 percent of the BHUs had women staff to treat female patients and advisory services for nursing mothers.
In addition, at least 60 percent of the health units in each region did not have wheel chairs, while at least a third lacked stretchers and 26 percent were without sterilizers. Twenty five BHUs nationwide, of which 15 were in KP, did not have syringe cutters. Similarly, 44 percent of the facilities lacked working oxygen tents and90% lacked generators for power backup.
The report said 71 percent of the observed BHUs did not have mini laboratories for conducting medical tests – half of them in Sindh and at least 70 percent in all other regions.
With regard to physical infrastructure, at least 80 percent of these health units had boundary walls, were accessible by a proper road, housed in good buildings and 95 percent of the facilities were found to be clean.
On the other hand, 81 out of the total 133 BHUs monitored did not have telephone landline connections – at least 50 percent in each region. Moreover, natural gas connections were also lacking in all three BHUs observed in FATA and at least 90 percent in each region.
A third of the monitored BHUs did not have arrangements for clean drinking water for patients, 28 percent were without washrooms with running water for patients and a fifth did not have proper shaded waiting areas for patients.
Forty three BHUs did not have residential quarters for doctors on the premises while 44 were without any such facility for other staff.
Ten patients – nine in FATA and one in Punjab – reported demands for illegal money at the monitored BHUs while 25 felt they were overcharged. Thirty nine patients complained they did not get medicines as per doctor’s prescription free of cost from the in-house pharmacy.