Shahbaz’s health plan: Adding insult to injury
The Punjab government has failed yet again to address the problems of dealing with emergency situations, especially when it comes to treating the injured at hospitals after terrorist attacks.
Lahore has witnessed plenty of blasts and suicide attacks in recent years. And the casualties seem to be rising due to inefficiencies in rendering emergency aid, and due to a lack of trauma centres.
While many die on the spot, a majority of the victims are rushed to emergency wards of teaching hospitals where they either eventually succumb to injuries, or suffer life-long disabilities – both of which in most cases are avoidable.
Following the blast at Karbala Gamay Shah in September 2010, around 150 injured people were rushed to the Mayo Hospital, one of Lahore’s largest hospitals, where around 12 people were reported to have died due to multiple factors including lack of aid, equipment and senior doctors.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s ill planned health policy has only added to the miseries. Sharif, instead of establishing trauma centres in city hospitals or providing adequate facilities, has started a mobile health unit project worth billions of rupees. Interestingly, the project is being run by a private equipment supply company that possesses no prior experience of providing health services.
Health experts have termed Sharif’s project a “political point scoring” ploy that was launched for his publicity in the health sector.
A physical trauma centre in hospitals can possibly save the lives of a large number of injured blast victims. Personnel of each centre can be trained for dealing with blast-related injuries such as fractures, burns, and head and limb injuries. The trauma centre should be provided X-Ray machines, burns units, critical life saving drugs, surgical instruments and surgeons, trained staff and an antiseptic environment. Compared with mobile health units, these trauma centres can be far more efficient. Sharif should reprioritise of fund allocation for emergency aid, especially there is a dire need.
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