PESHAWAR: During his term as medical officer of Galiyat Hospital, Dr Waheed Zaman single-handedly took on the responsibility of fixing shortcomings at the facility.
He donated the salary he earned during his three-year term towards this initiative. Zaman decided to take the plunge to make up for the government’s lack of interest in addressing problems which plagued the dilapidated hospital.
“I was transferred to Galiyat Hospital in 2006,” he told The Express Tribune over the telephone. “However, I was shocked when I visited the premises for the first time. The hospital, which is meant to cater to at least 0.3 million people, was practically non-functional.”
Zaman was equally surprised to find that even the blood pressure apparatus was out of order.
“Locals had to travel down the hills to Abbottabad or in serious cases, to the provincial capital,” he added.
The medical officer knew he would achieve nothing by informing the authorities about the matter. He decided to take matters into his own hands and improve the condition of the hospital.
“Had I taken up the matter with the authorities, it would have delayed matters further,” he said. “Patients would continue to suffer. This is why I decided to revamp the facility through the help of my family and friends.”
Change is belief
Between 2006 and 2009, the medical officer devoted his time and resources towards improving facilities at Galiyat Hospital. According to Zaman, a considerable amount of work was needed to give the hospital an overhaul.
“Everything at the facility needed to be repaired,” he said. “This included laboratories, dental units, vaccination rooms, labour rooms, washrooms, and even the doors and windows. The X-ray machine had been out of order for at least 15 years.”
The medical officer wanted the facility to be up and running, especially during winter when the region experienced heavy snowfall.
“I had to borrow money as well as donate my salary towards repair work,” he added.
Zaman bought a new X-Ray machine and sought assistance from his parents to install a new electricity transformer.
Down in the doldrums
Galiyat Hospital was built in 1926 on 25 kanals of land. However, 15 kanals of land was illegally encroached upon. The issue was brought to the attention of PTI chief Imran Khan during his visit to the hospital. He promised to revamp facilities at the hospital.
Zaman also convinced his mother and philanthropist, Ursula Ansari, to support him and generate money for the cause.
“We have spent at least Rs5 million to renovate the hospital,” Zaman said. “But we still need to do more for the health facility.”
State of disrepair
After the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government seized the reins in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, it vowed to bring revolutionary changes to the health sector. However, it has been little over a year and the health sector in the province is still in dire need of attention. A large number of hospitals in Peshawar and other parts of K-P are in a state of disrepair.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2015.