RHCs Lack Staff for Diagnosis and Treatment of Diarrheal Diseases and Malaria

A report Based on Monitoring of 97 Rural Health Centers in 66 Districts across Pakistan in June 2011

Rural health centers monitored nationwide in June 2011 did not have staff to run disease control programs for diagnosing and treating specific diseases. Almost a quarter of the RHCs monitored nationwide did not have staff to run the Control of Diarrheal Diseases (CDD) program or the Malaria Control Program (MCP).Furthermore, poor conditions of physical infrastructure and lack of medical services and essential equipment were also noted. Eighty-eight percent of the monitored RHCs lacked ophthalmology rooms while 15% did not have rooms for dentistry.

Basic equipment, required for diagnoses of diseases, like ECG and X-ray machines,were also not present in 57% and 35% RHCs respectively, across the country. FAFEN Governance Monitors monitored 97 Rural Health Centers (RHCs) in 66 districts in June 2011.

Nationwide, 26% of the monitored RHCs lacked staff to run the CDD program while 22% did not have staff to run the MCP. Both RHCs monitored in Balochistan did not have staff to run the CDD program. More than half of the RHCs monitored in KP did not have staff to run either program.

However, most of the monitored RHCs (97%) nationwide had staff to run the Extended Immunization Program (EPI), indicating that vaccination services were offered at a majority of the monitored RHCs except for two in KP. Female staff was present to attend to female patients in 91% of the monitored RHCs. Lacks in this regard were mostly noted in 22% RHCs in KP and in 14% in Sindh.

Ophthalmology (eye) rooms were lacking in 88% of the monitored facilities nationwide. Only four RHCs monitored in Punjab, three in KP and two in Sindh had eye rooms while none of the RHCs monitored in Balochistan and Mohmand Agency had such a facility. The RHCs monitored in Balochistan and Mohmand Agency did not have ECG machines as well. Only two out of 22 RHCs monitored in Sindh and four out of 23 in KP had ECG machines. Thirteen facilities in Punjab also lacked this item.

Similarly, X-ray machines were lacking in 77% of the RHCs monitored in Sindh. Clean drinking water, washrooms with running water and properly shaded waiting areas were lacking in the RHCs monitored nationwide. In KP, more than half – 56% and 65% respectively –of the monitored facilities lacked both clean drinking water and washrooms, while nearly two-fifths did not have waiting areas. Similarly, half of the monitored facilities in Sindh did not have washrooms, 45% did not have clean drinking water and 32% lacked waiting areas. None of these facilities were available in the RHCs monitored in Balochistan.

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