SAIDU SHARIF, Swat: Hundreds of people are treated at the Out Patient Department (OPD) of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Hospital in this picturesque valley, yet locals believe the facility must be expanded to provide uninterrupted health care service to growing number of patients.
“The OPD examines about 1,300 patients on a daily basis,” Dr. Najib Ullah, spokesperson for the Saidu Teaching Hospital, which also oversees the administrative affairs of Sheikh Khalifa Hospital, told Arab News on Thursday. “The patients come from remote areas, such as Buner, Chitral, Dir, Dargai, Shangla and Batkhela, keeping the health facility under heavy work pressure.”
Inaugurated in 2016, the 100-bed hospital was funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and built at a cost of $5.5 million, but the residents of the area maintain it should at least have 150 beds to deal with the overwhelming number of patients.
Hazer Gul, a senior executive who works with the development sector in Swat, told Arab News that the hospital was providing matchless health services to approximately 1.7 million people in and around the Swat region.
“If the UAE sets up small health units in remote hill stations, however, it will provide health services to people at their doorstep and decrease the workload of the hospital in Saidu Sharif,” Gul suggested.
Stretching over 5,430 square meters, the spokesperson said the hospital was equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.
Among other things, it has emergency center, medical and surgical wards, operation theaters, cardiology and chest pain clinics, burn center, pediatric unit and neurosurgery and plastic surgery facilities, he added.
Fazl-e-Subhan, a native of Saidu Sharif, said the UAE-funded hospital had been providing excellent services, but the number of patients was steadily growing, putting tremendous pressure on the health care facility.
“The UAE can either establish small health units in other areas or expand the staff and other facilities at this one,” he maintained.
Dr. Najib Ullah said that the hospital in Saidu Sharif has a separate pharmacy, and patients visiting the emergency center were given 90 percent of medicines free of cost.
“The hospital faces shortage of staff and lacks some equipment, such as wheelchairs. The capacity of the existing laboratory needs to be enhanced so that tests like arterial blood gas can also be performed here,” he continued.