Sindh govt moves to rescue Children’s Hospital from financial quagmire

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KARACHI: With a major change in policy, the Sindh government has finally decided to revise the agreement signed between the health department and an NGO namely Poverty Eradication Initiative (PEI) for the smooth functioning of the Sindh Government Children Hospital.

The provincial authorities, with an aim to ensure the best medical facilities, had given the hospital under the control of PEI under public-private partnership (PPP) mode. However, the hospital was almost near its closure as the health department had refused to provide funds to the hospital, sources told Pakistan Today.

As per the sources, the NGO 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 PEI strived to improve access and quality of care that resulted in the quick moving of 50-bedded hospital into a 210-bedded functional hospital.

The 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 is providing all the facilities including OPD, IPD, diagnostic, ambulatory care and pharmacy. “The hospital has a total strength of some 404 staff that included 77 doctors/specialists, 172 paramedics, 58 in administration, 90 government staff”, sources added.

The NGO also undertook the renovation of the old building with the view of establishing an extra sixty beds as the hospital is being expanded up to 270 beds.

However, the hospital became a victim of sheer negligence by the authorities of health department following non-release of agreed funds despite the lapse of more than four months.

Sources added that the entire staff of the hospital had not been paid salaries since the past three months following a delay in the release of the provincial government’s share which is around Rs440 million.

In this regard, PEI Executive Director Shahid Masood repeatedly tried to contact Sindh’s health authorities; however, he received no response, compelling him to address a news conference at the hospital on November 6, 2018.

Now, the negotiations have been finalised and a new agreement to involve a third-party audit of funds would be signed soon.