PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday finally inaugurated the long-delayed project of renovation, repair, refurbishment and rehabilitation project of Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH).
The previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)-led coalition government had granted Rs700 to the KTH administration for the scheme. The hospital was supposed to complete the project in six months under the supervision of the Board of Governors (BoG).
The hospital was built in the 1970s and the then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had inaugurated it. It was stated to be one of the finest buildings of that time where all health facilities were available under one roof.
Lack of maintenance and inability of the successive governments and hospital administrators to properly take care of the building gradually started damaging the infrastructure. Besides this Rs700 million, the KP government had also provided Rs500 million for the replacement of the hospital’s outdated air-conditioning plant.
The prime minister during his visit inaugurated the newly built OPD section and some other facilities in the basement.
In the basement, there are 16 procedure rooms for outpatients, pathology and diagnostic services laboratory services, pharmacy, radiology, blood bank, laundry, and central sterile services department.
Besides these services, the hospital administration established a cafeteria in the basement which is centrally air-conditioned and decided to operate through their own employees, which is stated to be a difficult task.
It may be mentioned here that the project was delayed for a long time. There was a time when the entire hospital was made working site and the dust used to cause inconvenience to doctors, health workers and patients, and all those required to visit the hospital on daily basis. All those working in the KTH would call the hospital the second BRT.
The Board of Governors (BoG) that was supposed to supervise the hospital matters and ensure transparency could not work accordingly.
Utilising 120,000 square feet of space in the basement for patient care was a challenge. It would have still not completed had the present BoG and particularly the Hospital KTH Director Prof Dr Roohul Muqeem took personal interest and set a deadline for the contractor. Several deadlines were given and the final one was February 2021 but the contractor could not meet it.
Previously Chief Minister Mahmood Khan was supposed to inaugurate it was lately when the schedule was changed and it was announced that Prime Minister Imran Khan himself would come for this job to Peshawar.
Some of the PTI leaders including the prime minister were misled by their advisors about the KTH renovation project as they used to call it a separate OPD block.
The prime minister had recently shared some pictures of the KTH after renovation and said that it is easy to build a new hospital rather than renovating the old one.
Though some civil work is still incomplete in the basement, once it completed, it will enable the hospital administration to shift all their OPDs to the basement as there are 90 rooms for the consultants and will give a large space on the first floor.
The government had made extraordinary security arrangements for the prime minister during his visit to KTH.
Traffic on the main busy University Road remained jammed right from Peshawar Cantonment up to the Board Bazaar and caused inconvenience to thousands of people.
They were forced to sit in their vehicles for a long time on both sides of the road till the prime minister left the KTH.