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Health dept asks centre to release funds for KP`s first children hospital

By Ashfaq Yusufzai 2023-05-08
PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pal(htunkhwa health department has asked the federal government to provide funds to it for purchasing equipment to make operational the province`s first Children Hospital by end of the current year,according to ofHcials.

The federal government had started work on Khyber Institute of Child Health (KICH) and Children Hospital 10 years ago. KICH, the academic portion, has already been completed while Children Hospital, the clinical part, is yet to be made operational owing to allocation of insufficient funds by federal government for the purpose.

Officials said that except Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, other three provinceshad got full-fledged children hospitals and institutes where training of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other staff was bringing improvement in child health scenario there.

They said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa made efforts to get the required funds and complete the hospital but to no avail.

As a result, 17 million children would suffer as there was no specific institute for them and they were shifted to other provinces for treatment of complicated illnesses, they added.

The director of KICH, Prof Inayatur Rehman, told Dawn that the government had released a total of Rs2.5 billion for the hospital so far. `The remaining funds approved as per revised PC-I are about Rs5.3 billion. We have requested the federal government to release at least Rs500 million before next budget and allocate the remaining amount in the upcoming budget for the hospital,` he said.

He was hopeful that the required funds would be released in a timely manner and they would be able to make functional the 290-bed hospital towards the endofthe currentyear.

`We are in constant contact with therelevant authorities at federal level about the monetary problems that we are facing in completion of the project. They have assured us of all-out cooperation, said Prof Inayat, a paediatric surgeon.

He said that as for as the progress on the project was concerned, they had completed 70 per cent construction work. He added that they were looking towards the government for funds to complete the project.

`We have applied for electricity connections to Wapda and gas authorities and for laying external sewerage line to Peshawar Development Authority with the request to do these on priority basis, he said.

About procurement of equipment for the hospital, Prof Inayat said that they were nearing to complete the process of technical and financial evaluation.

However, for placement of purchasing orders, they required funds, he said. The time period of revised PC-I would end in June 2023 and they needed to get all the funds before that, he added.

KICH and Children Hospital would act as an umbrella for child health in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The institute has alreadystarted activities, including training, teaching and research in the field of child health.

He said that at present, 350 students were undergoing training in different disciplines to help improve children`s health in the province. `With the completion of hospital, we would recruit at least 10 specialists including cardiac, orthopaedic and general surgeons and physicians in different specialties,` he added.

Prof Inayat said that some of the hightech equipment for state-of-the-art operation theatres would reach the hospital soon. He said that a data bank was being established to help with policymaking and research on children`s health in addition to setting database on paediatric morbidity and mortality.

`Screening programmes for prevention of beta thalassaemia, congenital hypothyroidism and common metabolic disorders and galactosemia are also part of KICH. We will be imparting training to health professionals in child health and they would be deployed in the hospitals of the province,` said Prof Inayat.