DHQs Lack Specialized Medical Services

A report based on monitoring of 65 District Head Quarters Hospitals across Pakistan in December 2012.

ISLAMABAD, 2 March 2013: At least 45% District Headquarter Hospitals (DHQs) did not have cardiology, chest specialist, orthopedic and psychiatry departments, says a Free and Fair Election (FAFEN) report.

The report released on Saturday said that the greatest lack was observed with regard to psychiatry department which was not present in 81% of the monitored DHQs. Cardiology department was not available in 45% DHQs while chest specialist and orthopedic departments were absent in 48% and 49% health facilities, respectively.

DHQs are the highest tier in secondary health care system in Pakistan. It is therefore important that they be equipped with specialized staff and facilities in order to provide complete medical care to the citizens.

FAFEN governance monitors who visited 65 DHQs in as many districts reported that a department of physiotherapy was also lacking in around three-fifths (37) of hospitals. On a positive note, around four fifths of the monitored health facilities had a gynecology and obstetrics department and a similar number had a department of ophthalmology. A pediatric department was available in 55 DHQs.While 58 health facilities had a department of surgery, all the seven DHQs in need of it were in Balochistan.

Infrastructure and general facilities in DHQs were satisfactory. All the monitored DHQs had proper roads leading to the premises and 64 had boundary walls around them.All had electricity connections, 64 had fans and 62 had a generator for power backup. The three DHQs that did not have a generator were in Balochistan.  However, Sui gas connections were available in only around half of the monitored DHQs.

Fifty eight health facilities had washrooms with running water for patients. Residential quarters for staff were present in the premises of 60 DHQs and a similar facility for doctors was present in 58 health facilities.

All 65 DHQs had wards for inpatients and laboratories for medical tests. Furthermore, except for one DHQ in Balochistan all had emergency wards for outpatients.

An operation room for major surgeries was available in 62 health facilities while a labour room was present in 60.  X-Ray rooms were present in all but one DHQ in Balochistan; however, blood banks were not available in 10 DHQs. Except for a DHQ in Balochistan, all the monitored health facilities had medicines in the in-house pharmacy. Oversight of DHQs was minimal during September- November 2012 quarter; government/elected officials made 37 visits to 26 health facilities.

To download complete report, click here