During the election campaign in 2013, PTI leaders promised to construct a trauma and burn center in Peshawar.
When Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government came to power in May 2013, they set the health sector on top of their government priority list. Imran Khan and KP government have several times promised the people that they would provide all kinds of health facilities on their door step, but they have failed to improve the standard of main tertiary hospitals.
A trauma and burn center at Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) Peshawar, was also a priority for the PTI government and they promised the people that their government will establish a functioning hospital which will provide treatment to burn patients.
The centre has already been inaugurated four times under previous governments. First it was inaugurated by Pakistan People’s Party leader, and former, Chief Arbab Jehangir Khan in 1985. Later, under the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MAA) government, Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani again inaugurated the center in 2002, followed by Awami National Party chief minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti.
Similarly, PTI Chief Minister, Pervez Khattak, also visited the center in 2014 and directed the health department to accelerate work on it as to complete it as soon as possible.
However, four years have passed since the government first came to power, but like previous governments, it too failed to uphold its commitment of providing burn patients with treatment facilities.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa spokesperson, Shah Farman, said that establishing a hospital for burn victims is the utmost need of our province, and that the government is trying hard to provide facilities for burn patients.
He shared that the Workers Welfare Board had promised to provide Rs1 billion to the provincial government for the construction of a hospital, but only Rs250 million have been released so far, which proved insufficient for the completion of the project. He said that last month, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) team had visited the hospital and agreed to provide Rs1.6 billion for completing the construction and other facilities.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) member of KP Assembly, Amna Sardar, who is also a member of KP Assembly Health Committee said that she has brought forth this issue to the government since the very start and the committee has also raised the issue multiple times on the assembly floor, but the government has failed to actively respond to the situation.
Sardar said that being public representatives in the assembly, it is their foremost responsibility to answer to the immediate needs of the people.
She said that the underprivileged strata in KP cannot afford expensive treatments abroad or treatment in other provinces. She added that patients often succumb to their burn injuries or they have to be shifted to other parts of the country.
Sahibzada Sanaullah of Pakistan People’s Party MPA in KP Assembly, said that this government is not serious enough to provide health facilities to people. He said that billions have been allocated to the health sector in the provincial budget, but a very few number of plans were translated into concrete actions. He demanded that the government establish a specialized burnt hospital in the province with subunits in every district of the province, which has been long overdue.
According to the Associate Professor and Plastic Surgeon at Hayatabad Medical Complex, Dr. Tehmeedullah, “Peshawar receives around 6,000 patients with burn injuries from across the province each year. KP hospitals have the capacity to treat only 10% of these patients.” He explained that due to unavailability of fully equipped hospitals, the patients were shifted to other parts of the country. He said that the treatment is very expensive, which majority of the families cannot afford, therefore many patients die due to delayed medical care at the centers.
Reman Zada of Mardan said that his 13-year-old son Imran got electrocuted last year, with burns on 45% of his body. They rushed him to Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar, where due to unavailability of a separate ward, he was admitted at the medical ward and later doctors suggested to shift him to Islamabad. He said that the hospital administration in Islamabad demanded Rs 80000 in advance but he could not afford to pay the amount, so he brought him back to LRH Peshawar where he died after a week.
He urged the government to at least establish a unit in tertiary hospitals where poor people can have access to basic treatments.
After evaluating the views and comments of the ruling government, opposition parties’ lawmakers, an independent expert and a victim, Truth Tracker rules that the PTI government has failed to provide treatment facility to burnt patients in the province.