PIMS running ghost Tobacco Cessation Clinic

  • Smoking cessation clinic set up in PIMS devoid of doctors, medicines 
  • Smoke Free Capital Project Director Dr Minhajus Siraj says PIMS administration responsible for operating the clinic

A large number of tobacco addicts/smokers have been deprived of smoking cessation treatment in Islamabad as the Tobacco Cessation Clinic in Pakistan Medical Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) – set up earlier this year – exists only on paper, Pakistan Today has learnt.

The clinic was set up at PIMS with much pomp and show in the first week of June but only after four months, the clinic only exists on paper and cessation treatment is not being offered to tobacco addicts.

Signboards of the Tobacco Cessation Clinic are placed across PIMS and also outside a room which was earlier allocated for the clinic inside the institute’s Psychiatry Out-Patient Ward but no doctors or medicines are available in the clinic, Pakistan Today has observed.

Manzoor Ahmad, a medical attendant who was sitting in the room which bears the signboard of Tobacco Cessation Clinic, told this scribe that the people who started the clinic have stopped offering any treatment for the past one month and now only other psychiatry patients are treated at the clinic.

“This clinic was set up by a private organisation but the organisation stopped working here three months after the clinic was set up. The organistaion also withdrew its staff. We do not know why they closed thw clinic,” said Ahmad.

Talking to Pakistan Today, the mother of a 25-year-old addict said that she had heard about the clinic and brought her son to the clinic in the hope that he could be treated out of his addiction but the clinic was closed.

“We came from Kohala, some 90 kilometers from here, with the hope that my son will be helped out of his addiction but I feel we have wasted our time and money by coming here; we are poor people and cant afford expensive treatment at private cessation clinics,”said the disappointed woman.

A doctor in the hospital requesting anonymity expressed wonder when this scribe asked him about the clinic.

“Are you talking of a ghost clinic? I have been posted here for the past one month but I have never come across any clinic related to tobacco cessation though a number of patients daily frequent the hospital and enquire about the Tobacco Cessation Clinic daily,” said the doctor.

When contacted, Tobacco-Smoke Free Capital Project Director Dr Minhajus Siraj expressed his concern for the state of affairs at the Tobacco Cessation Clinic at PIMS.

“We established this clinic with the help of PIMS administration and it is their duty to keep it functional and treat the patients,” said Minhaj.

“Dr Waqar Ahmad of PIMS was given the charge of the clinic. I do not know why they have closed it. We will take up the matter with the PIMS vice chancellor through the ministry,” said Minhaj.

“However, it should be known that another Tobacco Cessation Clinic being run by Tobacco-Smoke Free Capital Project in Sector G-8 is fully functional where many addicts are being treated,” Minhaj said.

The PIMS VC did not answer the calls made by this scribe to seek his comment on the situation that has arisen after the closure of the Tobacco Cessation Clinic under his control.