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Thar Famine: Court seeks detailed govt report on situation

KARACHI: Sindh High Court division bench will resume hearing of the petitions on famine in Thar on December 4.

According to ARY News a division bench of the court headed by Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar hearing petitions filed by Pakistan Institute of Labour and Education Research (PILER) and other NGOs over the situation in the desert region.

The bench taking exception of the situation directed the federal and provincial governments on Wednesday to submit detailed reports over the government efforts to tackle the situation.

The judges going through the reports submitted by district and session judges of Tharparkar and Umerkot districts, chief secretary Sindh and health secretary noted that the reports revealed the situation in Thar has perhaps deteriorated further.

The district and sessions Judge Umerkot in his report, stated that Sindh government has not made serious efforts for filling the vacant posts as more than 200 doctors posts are vacant. The government also failed in paying compensation to drought victims and releasing funds for the potable water supply schemes in famine-hit areas.

The report said that several posts of doctors, civil surgeons, gynaecologists, paediatricians and other medical specialists were lying vacant in Umerkot Hospital, adding 130 doctors were serving against the sanctioned strength
of 401.

The judge, who visited the DHQ Umerkot along with other judges found 23 children under treatment at the hospital but not a single paediatrician was posted there. “Patients are suffering a lot due to non-availability of civil surgeon, physician, pathologist, skin specialist, gynaecologist, radiologist and other health specialists.

According to report out of 29 rural health centres, basic health units and government dispensaries established in the drought-hit areas of Umerkot, 18 were not functioning properly.

It was quoted by Senior Civil Judge Mithi Mian Fayyaz Rabbani, who was appointed relief inspecting judge,  that 319 deaths occurred from January 2014 to October 2014, out of which 188 were children under five years who died due to low birth weight, premature birth and Respiratory distress (RDS). He said deaths of men, women and children occurred due to poverty.

Owing to lack of nutrition during pregnancy and proper care and food, mothers give birth to weak children prematurely.

The bench on Wednesday ordered the federal and provincial governments to submit their replies by December 4 and take serious steps to mitigate the suffering of the famine hit region.

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