Friday, November 21, 2008

6 Civil Hospital buildings can fall prey to a minor earthquake

Six of the Civil Hospital Karachi’s buildings including the main building are in deplorable conditions and are not fit to be used for hospital purposes as they can collapse in the most minor earthquakes.Architects and experts of a private firm’s engineering department stated this while conducting a detailed survey of the Civil Hospital Karachi. All of these buildings were constructed decades ago.

The dangerous condition of these buildings is a serious threat to not only the thousands of patients admitted in the hospital but also to those visiting the hospital for treatments daily. Civil Hospital Karachi is the biggest public sector hospital with 1770 beds, 40 departments and about 1 million patients in the OPD. People form the city as well as form other parts of the province come to this hospital for treatment. Official records reveal that the building was constructed in 1895 during the British era as a district hospital. Some of the buildings that were constructed in old architectural design still stand in good conditions today.

The lack of renovation work, substandard material used in the construction, increasing pollution in the city and the degrading sanitation work are the causes behind the horrible condition of the hospital. The hospital administration is confused on whether to disclose this information to the health department’s higher authorities or to hide it from them. Additional Medical Superintendent General Dr Shakeel Malik confirmed that the survey was being conducted but refused to reveal any information regarding the experts’ comments on the deplorable conditions of hospital. “Yes we have hired a private firm to conduct a survey of the hospital, we did put out tenders in the national newspapers but this does not necessary mean that we will share the details with the media since it is not important for the general public to have any information regarding the conditions of hospital,” he said. Stating that the survey was initiated to find out basic information for the hospital’s master plan, he said, “it is confidential and we cannot share it with the media.”A major consulting firm initiated a 40 weeklong master plan survey of the hospital’s historical buildings last week.

The survey’s aim was to find out all the basic information including total area, number of the buildings, conditions of the buildings and the environmental impact on the structure of hospital. In the first stage of the survey, the team examined the building roofs and in a few days they found that six buildings were in deplorable conditions and were being used well passed their life.

Sources feared that the numbers of the deplorable buildings they will find will rise as the team continues the survey since the state of these buildings were found to be dangerous in just the basic review. They refrained from mentioning the name of the specific buildings. Civil Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Saeed Qureshi rejected the discovery. “No, there is no such discloser, as I have not come to know,” he said. He refused to reveal any details about the master plan survey project.

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