Almost in every speech and statement the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman, Imran Khan, has claimed to bring “revolution” in health sector of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, where his party is leading a coalition government.
His political slogans – which still continue even after when his party has formed government in KPK – may impress others but not the one who loses his dearest one due to wretched condition of hospitals in this Northern Province.
Sami-ur-Rehman – my eighteen years old brother – was diagnosed with Malaria when we took him to Dir’s district hospital, which is far from becoming a full-fledged and vibrant health facility for the people of several far-flung valleys, forming Upper Dir district.
With no doctors staff available to treat Rehman, we were referred to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH), the provinces’ largest hospital. Sitting in nastiest ambulance of Dir Hospital, I had still hopes that once reached Peshawar, my brother will get will soon.
“May be Dir is away and Peshawar, where the Chief Minister, his cabinet members, including health minister, reside will certainly offer better health facilities,” I tried to give hope to myself and family.
However, it wasn’t an end but start to the agonies when we reached in LRH on March 29 where our stay was to end early, leaving us crying.
With my brother’s condition deteriorating with every passing moment, the hospital administration was in no mode to speed up the admission process but what could one do except to “tolerate” the highly “intolerable” attitude of hospital staff.
Rehman – a student of first year in Dir College – was admitted in the LRH’s Medical C ward. Lying on bed 20 he was never properly investigated. No proper checkup by doctors as their assistants would write “prescriptions” for expensive medicines that were to be bought by the patient’s attendant from medical stores outside hospital.
My brother would be treated the same way. One his condition being further deteriorated, the doctor asked us to shift him to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) immediately but when we requested the concerned they informed no bed was available at the moment. Once bed could be made available, the ICU representatives informed us there was only one ventilator available in the major health center of province, and that wasn’t free with several waiting patients in queue.
Consequently, it was decided that Rehman will be shifted to Mercy Hospital. But as we could arrange for the shifting my brother left us for his journey for eternal life, leaving behind us with feeling of sorrow and dozens of questions boggling our minds. These questions still haunt us.
I couldn’t save my brother though I was one of the privileged ones as commoners believe journalists use to be. My brother is not the only one who has lost his life due to apathy of the PTI government towards health conditions. On daily basis, brothers loss their brothers or sisters, mothers leave behind kids in grief, and fathers leave their families for passing through ordeals for rest of life. One may call it physical death; I believe it’s a murder. Murder because these patients could be saved, had the health minister, Shehram Khan Tarakai and his hospital doing well.
Fiery speeches from containers coupled with slogans of health and educational revolutions are of no work, if the Imran Khan’s PTI is not ready to deliver on ground. If his cancer hospitals are doing well, then it’s not Khan’s intention or lack of good vision that is leaving us in trauma but different choices he is making for his charity hospitals and government run facilities.
We are right in assuming that those selected for Shaukat Khanam Memorial Cancer Hospital (SKMCH) Hospital must have been appointed on merit but those for running the province especially, health and education sectors are totally the opposite.
Has Khan Sahib ever seen the qualification of people he has assigned important portfolios in KPK Government to like he does when making appointments for SKMCH? If No – and evidently never – then you’re equally responsible for the ‘murder’ of my brother.
By Tariq Ullah Wardak who is The Frontier Post’s Correspondent in Upper Dir and Senior Vice President District Press Club Dir. He can be reached at
THE PASHTUN TIMES