Kuwait Medical Center, Skardu
Skardu, which is the largest District in the Northern Areas, has a fast-expanding population. As such, it is difficult to keep up with the demand of the population for facilities such as health, education, housing, land etc. Although the Government is investing in these sectors, the process is slow due to the paucity of funds. Therefore, there is a need to revitalize the concept of Public Private Partnership in order to cater to the demands of the population. The private sector should have a vast experience in the health sector in the region and should have undertaken a number of projects in this respect. The public sector can provide support in the shape of land while the private sector can invest in the construction and running of the hospital. The Marafie Foundation, since its inception in 1986, has worked extensively in the sectors of health, education, infrastructure development and women empowerment in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Involvement of the foundation in health sector has helped it to understand the extent and depth of serious gaps in health cover for the population of the region in general and of women and children in particular. In order to meet this pressing and important requirement, the Marafie Foundation has offered to construct a modem hospital with state of the art diagnostic facilities at Skardu. The hospital will provide free medical cover to the poor and provide paid medical care to those who can afford it.
BRIEF ON PROPOSED KUWAIT MEDICAL CENTER
The Proposed Medical Center is located in the Northern region of Pakistan namely Gilgit Baltistan. Located amongst the high peaks of the Karakorum and Himalayas range, it remained cut off from the outside world for centuries till the construction of KKH. This highway passes through a winding route flaking the Indus River in one of the most difficult and inhospitable terrains to be found anywhere in the world. The highway goes straight to the Chinese border Khanjrab Pass. At Thirty kilometers short of Gilgit, it branches off with the Indus River to east to Siachin and two districts of Ghanchey and Skardu. The region has international borders with the Chinese region of Xinjiang, Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan and an active control line with Indian-held Kashmir.
Problems of the Health Sector in Gilgit-Baltistan
The problems of the health sector are summarized below:-
1) In adequate Facilities. The facilities are insufficient to deal with the health requirement of the population of the region. Add to this the diffiult terrain, scattered villages in a vast mountainous region that has very harsh and long winters you are faced with one of the most daunting challenges of providing health cover to the people exposed to these environments.
2) Financial Constraints. The local Government of Gilgit-Baltistan has a very limited budget and out of this allocation it is not possible for it to meet the fiancial requirement of these hospitals. Resultantly, there is always a shortage of medical supplies, staff particularly for Maintenance/ cleanliness and availability of required specialists particularly female Gynecologists.
3) Absence of any credible and quality diagnostic facilities. Quality-Diagnostic Services are not available as the hospitals do not have necessary equipment nor the consumable goods/kit required for running such facilities.
4) Non-availability of female gynecologists. Due to non-availability of female doctors and nursing staff the female population has suffered the most with very high rate of mortality during child birth and high rate of infant mortality.
5) Absence of specialist. Since there are no specialists in some of the important disciplines, serious medical cases related to plastic surgery and pediatrics and cancer go untreated.
In order to address these problems and fill a serious gap in the health services structure in Baltistan and also in the entire region including four districts of Gilgit, the Marafie Foundation has taken up construction of a State of the Art Hospital of 300 bed hospital with all the required facilities. This was necessary because the existing facilities are compromised in terms of availability and quality.