QUETTA: Balochistan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the country, with the nonavailability of female gynaecologists in rural parts of the province being one of the prime reasons.
Dera Bugti district is one such part of Balochistan where maternal mortality rate is on a constant rise because a large number of delivery cases are handled by untrained midwives as gynaecologists are not willing to work in rural areas.
A recent death of a pregnant woman, Mehnaz Bibi, once again brings to fore the acute shortage – in fact the absence – of gynaecologists in rural parts of the province.
It was on Thursday evening when Mehnaz was taken to the District Headquarter Hospital Dera Bugti by her family members where they were assured that the delivery would go normally. “After a medical procedure spanning hours, we were informed that Mehnaz’s case had turned critical, and she must be shifted to Rahim Yar Khan,” said Badshah Maratha Bugti, Mehnaz’s cousin. “But she died on way to Rahim Yar Khan, which is more than 500km from Dera Bugti, with the baby inside her womb.”
Mehnaz’s family called upon the provincial government to appoint four to five lady doctors in Dera Bugti so that nobody else would have to face such a tragedy. “Our sister is gone due to lack of doctors and healthcare, but we don’t want any more people to suffer as she did,” Badshah said.
At least 24 maternal mortality cases were reported in Dera Bugti this year, with nine in this month alone. Local people claim the number is higher as many cases remain unreported.
The recent surge in the maternal mortality cases initiated a debate on social and mainstream media over the healthcare facilities available in Dera Bugti district, which is the country’s major producer of natural gas. The increasing number of such cases also questions the performance of the provincial government.
Nawabzada Gohram Bugti, the MPA from the district, holds previous governments responsible for failing to address the issue by appointing female gynaecologists in his constituency. “A lady doctor had been appointed in the District Headquarter Dera Bugti four days back on my directives but a single gynaecologist can’t handle all the cases,” Gohram Bugti said.
“Being a member of the provincial coalition government, I have requested CM Jam Kamal to appoint specialists in Dera Bugti for addressing such cases,” he added.
Gohram Bugti admitted that the mortality rate is higher than the official figures. “According to my information, two deaths are being reported every week in the district,” he said. “Unfortunately, untrained and negligent staff was appointed by the previous regimes, but they can’t be allowed to play with the lives of our mothers and sisters.”
“They have to be sincere towards their duties or we will take strict action against them,” he added. Gohram Bugti reiterated that he would raise the issue on all platforms and seek Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal’s immediate attention. “If the provincial government fails to appoint lady doctors in Dera Bugti, we will start a movement against it,” he added.
He said the provincial government had been giving salaries to doctors appointed in Dera Bugti but “they are not willing to work”. According to sources, the provincial government had appointed a female gynaecologist to treat the cases but she was not available when Mehnaz reached the hospital.
The sources said that one lady health worker at a hospital, that too lacking expertise to handle serious cases, cannot do the needful.
Courtesy: Express Tribune Reported by Mohammad Zafar