Universal Children’s’ Day was observed globally on November 20 but on the same day children died in Sargodha and Tharparkar due to the negligence of the authorities or administrative. Over 15 newborns have died in Sargodha in the last week because of lack of facilities at the district headquarters hospital. Twenty four more children lost their lives in last five days in drought hit Tharparkar in Sindh, the death toll climbed to 489 in the year 2014 and people are not left with any other option but to migrate to other areas. Seriousness of the representatives of the masses to provide the basic health facilities can be seen from the statement of Member of National Assembly from the constituency of Sargodha Dr. Zulfiqar Bhatti while talking to the anchor in a talk show of Roze TV regarding the sad incident said death of newborns was not big issue and people are trying to settle their political scores on the issue. It was a shocking statement, it seems that we are living in a state of denial; we can easily go ahead by brushing aside our responsibilities by putting the blames on others for our own negligence. Local representatives from the government reached to the hospital and once again promises were made but truth is help is awaited, there are fears that many young lives may still be in danger. Senseless explanations were offered by the administrative of the hospitals that the newborn babies were premature. Question arises were all the children premature? If yes then how the children are still dying for the very reason? Two more children died day latter. Child delivery, premature or otherwise, is a basic medical task a DHQ is expected to deal with efficiently. Failure to provide even this would mean that district-level public hospitals have degenerated alarmingly. There have been calls for quick life-saving interventions in Sargodha from the government, just as there are demands for fixing the official focus where it is most needed.
In Punjab, for some time there has been an inclination to address the issues via a short cut under the direct supervision of the chief minister. In the current case, too, a chief ministerial inspection team was sent to Sargodha, and according to news reports, a couple of newborns died while it was investigating. An inspection team, constituted by the chief minister to investigate the death of eight babies who had died on Wednesday, reached the hospital to look into the mismanagement and lack of facilities that had resulted in the deaths where it had to witness the deaths of four more children. There are unconfirmed reports that two more newborns also died late on Thursday, talking the death toll for the day to six. The nursery of the DHQ hospital has 25 beds and five incubators but it has 50 newborns admitted while 20 of them are still in a critical condition and need incubators which can only be provided to only five babies. The Punjab government has reportedly issued directions to the authorities to provide 20 incubators to the hospital at the earliest. There are vacancies of 51 specialist doctors and 30 nurses in the hospital. It requires 121 medical officers but at present only 21 medical officers are available. Most of the specialist doctors have their own hospitals while others are working with private hospitals and they attract patients to the private hospitals for more earning. The inspection’s purpose would be half served if the remedial measures it proposes after, hopefully, a thorough probe, are limited to just one DHQ or just one province. Let the tragedy in Sargodha be a turning point that leads to a redefinition of official priorities.
CM Sindh Qaim Ali Shah and his cabinet miserably failed to save the precious lives as no concrete measures have been taken so far that could provide food, potable water to the locals. The PPP-led provincial government utilizing each and every possible resources to “Regain” the party’s popularity graph which is very much on the decline. Billions of rupees have been spent on the processions of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in order to revive the Bhuttoism. Chief Minister Sindh who recently visited the drought-hit area did attended the meeting but most of the time he was caught sleeping. This shows how serious Qaim Ali Shah and his party is when it comes saving lives of the innocent people.
The government has been sleeping on the job, and there is no excuse for the pathetic conditions these people are living in. There is no provincial emergency operation centre nor a disaster management authority operating in the region and it seems that only the denial of Sindh Chief Minister is operating in the region who has miserably failed to show any seriousness to deal with the dilemma as the children are dying on daily basis.