Sindh’s children hospital at verge of shutdown amid govt’s delay in funds release

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KARACHI: The Sindh Government Children Hospital (SGCH) has almost been shut down following the delay in the release of funds from the provincial health department, Pakistan Today learnt on Monday.

The hospital has become the victim of sheer negligence by the authorities of the Health Department following the non-release of agreed funds despite a lapse of more than four months, sources told Pakistan Today.

Being the only health public health facility for in the City and other parts of the province, the situation is causing a great many problems for thousands of patients who are pouring in the hospital for medical treatment.

SGCH is being run in collaboration with an NGO named Poverty Eradication Initiative (PEI) under a public-private partnership (PPP) mode which was the first of its own kind since it was providing quality health care services according to the international standards for the children under the age of 12 years.

According to sources, PEI took over the reins of the children hospital on September 30, 2016, to provide a foundation for the next 10 years of service (first phase of the partnership). The hospital did a brilliant job in ensuring free of cost medical facilities to thousands of children in the city.

“The out-patient department (OPD) services moved up from catering an average of 300-500 patients to 1500-2000 per day, including speciality clinic while the government staff was a good salary package.

“PEI worked on the continuation of medical education, preventive maintenance of equipment, strengthening of janitorial and security department, isolation care/high dependency care, Q-matic system and free care with respect and dignity. The hospital was providing all the facilities including OPD, IPD, diagnostic, ambulatory care and pharmacy,” sources said.

“The hospital has a total strength of some 404 staff that including 77 doctors-with several specialists-, 172 paramedics, 58 in administration, 90 government staff”, sources said, adding that the staff of the hospital are without salaries since past three months. “The financial crisis has badly affected the operations of the hospital compelling the NGO to close down the operations of the hospital,” they further said.

When contacted, SGCH Spokesperson Kashif Hussain told Pakistan Today that the entire staff of the hospital is working without their salaries for the past three months following the delay in the release of provincial government’s share, which is around Rs440 million.

In this regard, the scribe PEI Executive Director Shahid Masood said that he had repeatedly tried to contact Sindh’s health authorities, however upon receiving no response, he was compelled to address a news conference at the hospital.