The staff of nine delivery centres at Basic Health Units (BHU) in Faisalabad district have been shifted to other BHUs apparently because they had failed to meet the target of assisted births over the last five months.
Speaking to The Express Tribune on Monday, District Health Officer Nawazish Ali Goraya said the Health Department had established 44 delivery centres at BHUs in the district to decrease the patient-load at labour wards at major government hospitals including the Allied Hospital and the divisional headquarters (DHQ) hospital and to provide the service close to home.
He said that the Health Department had appointed sufficient staff at these centres and provided them an ample stock of medicines. He said the centres were also kept open round-the-clock, however, nine out of the 44 centres had failed to meet the targets for deliveries for the last five months. He said that was why they the delivery centres and staff had to be shifted to other BHUs in the district.
He said the delivery centre in Chak 231-RB had been shifted to Chak 209-RB, the centre in Chak 82-JB was shifted to Chak 67-JB, the centre in Chak 96-GB was moved to Chak 372-GB, the centre in 379-GB has been moved to Chak 353-GB, the centre in Chak 608-GB to Chak 427-GB, the centre in Chak 506-GB has been moved to Chak 547-GB, the centre in Chak 47-GB has been moved to Chak 48-GB, the centre in Chak 165-GB has been moved to Chak 437-GB and the centre in Chak 288-GB has been shifted to the BHU in Chak 136-GB.
Responding to a question, Goraya said the staff at delivery centres was also shifted due to administrative reasons. “The centres were located in far-flung areas and it had become hard for the staff to commute regularly…furthermore, the centres were to be open round-the-clock. That, too, created problems for the people working there.”
Goraya said one of the reasons the centres had failed to perform was rampant ignorance and suspicion surrounding modern medicine in the catchment areas. “Most people there prefer traditional forms of treatment and adhere to their customs, especially when it comes to child birth.” He said dayas (midwives) continued to assist in most of the births in these areas.
“The centres were relocated considering the greater demand in other villages.”
Zameer Hussain, a resident of Chak 47-GB from where a delivery centre was shifted to Chak 48-GB, agreed with the DHO that there was a clear lack of awareness in the area about their benefits. “People here mostly think that the doctors at delivery centres prefer C-sections over normal birth.” He said unnecessary C-section’s harm the mother and child. “That is why we stick to our old ways.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2015.