Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Pakistan - The Real Punjab - ‘The dance of the death’

Waseem Shaukat Malik
We can’t expect any improvement unless the corrupt, politically appointed agents and blue-eyed are not thrown out of these institutions.
A general perception about Punjab government in other provinces is that they have made Punjab a heaven as compared to the other provinces by building up bridges, roads, inter-passes etc. Huge parks and gardens are also built. A large number of Universities, colleges and other similar institutes are also established. The health and cleanliness matters are also looked after very well. The institutes in this province are working amicably following the government’s directions. In other words, the general perception is that All is Well. But my fellow countrymen unfortunately this perception is completely wrong and based on mere postulation. If we talk about Lahore, most of its main roads are not worthy of travel and traveling on these roads is in fact a nightmare. Damaged roads, uncontrolled traffic and encroachments cause heavy delays for the commuters. Pollution and the dust flying around everywhere is causing serious illnesses like throat and breathing infections to the people living in this city. The parks and gardens are full of rubbish and are a picture of mismanagement. Most of the parks and the vacant plots in the city are covered with the piles of construction material for metro and orange train projects. You find mounds of general waste and the gutters also oozing out spreading filth in quite a few areas of this city. The education sector is dominated by Private schools mafia. Majority of the shinning students are forced to sell their properties to get quality education from these privately run institutes. This mafia has become strong enough now to establish their presence felt in the government corridors and in media. They have started to dictate their policies in these sectors now. That’s right; I am talking about Punjab here and All is Not Well here!!
Health sector is the worst amongst other provinces. The estimated population of Punjab is around 105 Million which is around 55% of the total population of Pakistan. According to the official figures of the government of Punjab, there are around 151 government hospitals, 194 dispensaries, 293 rural health centres and 2461 basic health units. The total numbers of beds inside all the hospitals in Punjab is around 37272. There are only 250 beds in ICUs. According to the figures of PMDC, including the federal area there are only 67486 registered doctors for the whole of the Punjab. This includes the doctors practising privately and those who have left the country. And for almost half the population in Sindh province there are 60315 registered doctors which suggest that the situation in Sindh province is lot better than Punjab. Now have a look at some astonishing facts in Punjab. I will quote the official figures here to avoid any contradictions from government. In Punjab 77 infants in every 1000 die in infancy and 112 die before the age of 5. 34% of the children lack proper nutrition. The government figures suggest that 3 out of every 1000 mothers die during the delivery of the children, whereas the fact is that this ratio is lot higher than this mentioned by the government. Thousands die of the epidemiologic or contagious diseases in Punjab. Hence the health situation in Punjab is lot worse than other provinces and the cities around the world.
The rulers of this country are spending Billions on Metro Bus and Metro Train projects which are a mere ‘eye-wash’ and an effort to win the votes of the illiterate and common people of this province. Thousands of helpless poor people are dying in the government hospitals due to the lack of facilities and the basic services required. These hospitals severely lack the staff, doctors, nurses, medicines and infrastructure. The M.S, D.M.S and the people in charge of the emergencies are all political appointments appointed without any merit. To make the situation worst, the government has distributed the contracts to their own allies/partners and blue-eyed in the institutes like, Punjab Horticulture Authority, LDA, WASA, Planning & Development and Citry District Government hospitals. And these ‘mafias’ have their strangle hold on all the resources to safeguard their vested interests. The postings, transfers, financial matters, contracts, buying and selling of the medicines, all are managed by these mafias.
Millions of people approach these hospitals for the services they should get but are sent back empty handed. The basic medical tests, ultra sounds X-rays, CT Scans and MRI test are scheduled for months without giving any consideration to the priority and need for these test for the patients. There are literally three patients on one bed in emergency wards in these hospitals. You will find some on the floor too. Apart from the emergency medications, most of the medicines are never available at all. And even if there are few exceptions, the staffs are selling them in back market instead. There are only two ways to get the treatment in the government hospitals, bribe or nepotism and to me bribe works better if compared.
The emergency ward is the most important ward in a hospital but in the government hospitals in Punjab, this ward is the worst affected and the doctors are not ready to pay any heed to the situation either. The doctors are not even trained to handle the patients in an appropriate manner. Patients with mere headaches but with an official reference are a priority to those facing a life-threatening situation but have no references or money to bribe.
The rulers go to UK for their routine check-ups and the commoner of this country is left to die without any help. PML(N) has governed Punjab for over 30 years and yet have not been able to build a single hospital where they can get their own check-up and treatment they need. Isn’t it a concrete evidence of this government’s enmity with the people of this country, the wrong priorities and their Hippocratic approach for the last 30+ years? The doctors draw lacs in salaries but are not able to deliver. In Punjab Cardiology which is a government hospital, the doctors are allowed to charge the rich and treat them urgently whereas the poor are made to wait for months for their tests. This is horrendous and shame on the management of this hospital and the rulers in general.
The Punjab government has failed to deliver the basic facilities of health, cleanliness and education. And to make matters even worst and complex the ‘District Commissioners system’ in the government is being brought back. We can’t expect any improvement unless the corrupt, politically appointed agents and blue-eyed are not thrown out of these institutions. The rulers should provide free and quality medicines in the hospitals. Build new hospitals on emergency grounds, and not to play with people’s lives by appointing incompetent people in the existing hospitals. Please have some pity on the people of this country!!!

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