By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: The Gulmit hospital which serves 25,000 people of the Gojal valley has no doctor. Winter is the time when all kinds of respiratory diseases afflict the mountain people, particularly children, whose need for medical attention are urgent but the apathy of the health officials has deprived them of the only medical facility they have.
Since the deadly landslide of Attabad the people of Gojal have remained trapped isolated from other hospitals of the region and totally dependent on the tehsil headquarters hospital Gulmit where a lady doctor was serving since August last but without regular appointment and without any salary or other benefits. All efforts of public representatives to get her services regularised failed.
Dr Khadija Bano, a native of Gulmit, had been appointed medical officer at the THQ hospital on August 11, after public demand. After serving in the hospital for over four month, the doctor was compelled to quit her job due to non-issuance of the notification of her appointment and payment of salary. On December 4 she was informed by the DHO that her appointment had been made from November and not from August and she will get only half month’s salary.
The public representatives have slammed the delaying tactics and indifferent attitude of the health department to a people who have yet to recover from the Attabad calamity.
“With the onset of winter, cases of respiratory infection and other diseases are on the rise as there is no doctor in the hospital with the departure of the lone lady doctor,” lamented Aziz Jan, Chairman Village Council, Gojal.
“This is a conspiracy against the provincial government on the part of the bureaucracy,” said Ghadeer Shah, Vice-President of PPP, G-B. He demanded of the Chief Minister to take notice of the situation and take the officials to task for the delay in regularisation of Dr Khadija’s appointment and payment of her salary.
Dr Ghulam Ali, Director, Health Service, Gilgit-Baltistan when contacted, told the Express Tribune that Dr Khadija’s appointment had been mistakenly mentioned as December but was being corrected. “I have spoken to the concerned officials in this regard and they have assured to rectify the error”.
A number of people, including women lost their lives due to non-availability of medical aid and inaccessibility to health facilities in Hunza.
Given the problems of the people of Gojal, former Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan, Chief Minister and Speaker of Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly, had directed the G-B government to appoint a doctor at the Gulmit THQ hospital.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2010.