Healthcare paralyzed by lack of funds in Pindi

Countless pharmacies are facing closure due to staff cuts and drug shortages


Reports indicate that 77 pharmacies in Rawalpindi district have become unable to provide treatment due to the elimination of 90 posts of medical officers and dispensers, and non-supply of medicines.

The District Health Authority (DHA) could not get a budget for its 2,250 dengue workers while the anti-dengue and anti-polio campaigns were underway. That is why vaccinators have already protested.

The district-wide treatment system, which is headed by the DHA Chief Executive, who is always busy giving briefings at government meetings, is currently suffering from the worst situation.

As many as 48 government pharmacies in rural areas and 29 in municipal limits have become completely ineffective. The posts of 60 vending machines and 30 medical officers have been eliminated from 77 pharmacies. Due to unavailability of funds for medicines and other needs of the pharmacies, the treatment system that used to function well has now become completely ineffective.

In this way, the properties of these pharmacies, worth billions of rupees, also fall into disrepair. Citizens from these areas are forced to approach the already overburdened private clinics, hospitals and major city hospitals for treatment.

The DHA, which demanded recruitment of 2,250 dengue workers on daily wages for the current dengue season, has denied the budget of the Punjab Health Department. The department has suggested that the DHA should recruit dengue workers itself if they have the necessary financial resources. Meanwhile, the authority owes millions of rupees in bills to suppliers who supply them with essential materials. Payments to these suppliers are postponed again and again as they are given a new date for approval by the DHA officials every day.

On the other hand, the vaccinators’ protest at the DHA office over non-payment of POL allowance and other dues came to a temporary halt following the assurance from the Punjab government approached for the budget. Even after contacting the DHA Director, Dr. Ijaz Ahmed, several times to find out his position on this situation, he could not be reached. This problem persisted on other projects also under his supervision.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st2024.