ISLAMABAD: Thousands of patients in the capital city are facing serious problems as three major government hospitals have non-functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, especially at the National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (NIRM) where special persons including children from across the country arrive for treatment.

In the federal capital, only one major government-run hospital, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) has a functional MRI machine while the MRI machines of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Hospital and NIRM have gone out of order and the second biggest public hospital Federal Government Polyclinic Hospital has never installed the machine. As a result, poor patients are forced to pay Rs 10,000 for simple MRI scans and Rs 25,000 for contrast MRI scans to private laboratories.

The MRI machine, used for disease detection, diagnosis, and treatment monitoring, has not been working for the past many months, and according to officials, dozens of people with serious injuries and other problems are visiting the healthcare centres.

On the other hand, Polyclinic could not install the machine due to a lack of space. Moreover, the MRI machine at the NIRM is not open to the general public as it is dedicated to neurology-related patients.

Poor patients have urged the federal as well as Punjab provincial governments for early arrangements of MRI machines in public sector hospitals, saying that people with monthly incomes of Rs 15,000-35,000 cannot afford such expensive tests.

Moreover, Business Recorder has observed on various occasions that staff associated with operating the MRI machines and CT scans at government hospitals refuse to carry out their tests and ask them to visit private labs on the plea, the machines at public hospitals are not functioning. Almost every other patient visiting these hospitals is also complaining the same.

According to a senior official of the NIRM hospital, patients with disability need special attention as compared to regular patients and parents of special children need to be convinced in this regard.

The NIRM is offering special courses for children’s speech therapy and the institute was providing excellent medical facilities despite limited resources. The official said that the orthopaedic, eye, ENT, physiotherapy and speech therapy departments were functional in the NIRM.

The official said that according to international research, 15 percent of the population suffers from a disability. However, the rate of disability is not known in Pakistan as a five to seven percent disability rate is often reported here.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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