Abbottabad's Basic, Rural Health Units Face Acute Shortage Of Staff

Abbottabad's Basic, Rural Health Units Face Acute Shortage Of Staff
The basic health units (BHUs) and rural health centres of Abbottabad are unable to provide basic health services to the rural population due to the acute shortage of medical and paramedical staff.

Almost 54 BHUs and six RHCs continue to suffer from the shortage as they attempt to cater to the health needs of the district.

These healthcare establishments play a significant role in sharing the burden of patients on the secondary care hospitals but owing to the unavailability of staff, people are forced to go to the district headquarter (DHQ) hospital for the treatment of common ailments.

Photo: Bilal Baseer

People from remote areas of the district say that the lack of medical officers in most of the BHUs has been creating problems for them.

They revealed that a number of posts of medical technicians, lady health supervisors, lady health visitors, and dispensers have been lying vacant in their units for long.

The residents stressed that these are the only health facilities in the far-flung and mountainous areas, but still, the government seems to have failed to ensure provision of staff and facilities for their operation.

Photo: Bilal Baseer

They urged the government to take immediate notice of the issue and provide the required staff soon.

Meanwhile, sources in District Health Office Abbottabad said that the healthcare facilities are insufficient for the 13,32,912 people of the district.

They added that only a DHQ, three Type-D hospitals, RHCs, and 54 BHUs are currently functional in the area.

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Sources further said that out of the 54 BHUs, only 14 have doctors while some of them were moved to BHUs or to civil hospitals on general duties.

Photo: Bilal Baseer

In the absence of medical officers, most of the BHUs and RHCs are being run by medical technicians and as per official data, dozens of medical technician posts have also been lying vacant in different BHUs of the district.

When contacted, an official from the District Health Office confirmed the abysmal condition of the health facilities and said all BHUs and RHCs of Abbottabad are located in far-flung rural areas where doctors are reluctant to serve due to the unavailability of accommodation.

The official went on to add that all measures have been taken to appoint doctors at BHUs but they are not willing to pay heed to the call.

The writer is a student of History and a journalist interested in writing on gender equality, social issues and cultural heritage.