Sindh’s second largest hospital hit by water shortages

HYDERABAD   -   Sindh’s second largest tertiary care hospital, Liaquat University Hospital, Hyderabad, is hit, during ongoing severe heatwave, by water shortages which in turn are caused by erratic power supply to the Water and Sanitation Agency’s (Wasa) facilities by the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco).

It was learnt that back to back surgeries, procedures and major operations as well as laboratory investigations were affected by the water shortages and the situation was taking a heavy toll on poor patients, who came to this hospital from various districts of lower and upper regions of Sindh.

Surgeries were being rescheduled because of water shortages, which continued despite repeated requests by LUH authorities to Hyderabad Municipal Corporation or Wasa, which had been upgraded and renamed Hyderabad Water and Sewerage Corporation as per government notification issued on May 14.

The Wasa passed the buck to Hesco for power outages, which had rendered its system ineffective. “We have been pursuing it with HMC and Wasa but in vain,” said a resident medical officer, Dr Faizan Memon.

He said that water came only for two to three hours and that too after repeated requests and complaints.

According to thoracic surgeon, Dr Khalil, the water shortage is indeed a serious problem because thoracic surgeries deal with a patient’s lungs which need to be washed.

“We have to clean operation theatre besides carrying out sterilisation of instruments. When a surgery is postponed or adjourned due to water shortage the patient’s family members do not understand and put blame on us,” he said.

He said that there was no water even for washing hands after a surgery. If doctors and OT staff could not clean themselves after operation they might contract infections, he said.

On May 25, LUH’s medical superintendent Dr Aijaz Abbasi wrote to Hyderabad deputy commissioner and managing director of Wasa about the water shortages in LUH.

He said that the problem was affecting the facility which catered to around 25,000 patients from 14 districts of the province on a daily basis. Water was not being supplied to the hospital for a couple of weeks despite the fact that weather and heatstroke alerts had already been issued and mercury was steadily rising and reached 48 degree centigrade, he said.

According to Dr Faizan, around 150 to 200 surgeries in all disciplines are performed at LUH on a daily basis round the clock but the present situation has undermined these procedures.

“In addition to it, around 2,200 laboratory investigations are being badly affected in the absence of water,” he said. LUH pathology laboratory in-charge Ghaffar Rind agreed with the RMO.

Besides the pathology laboratory, the Diagnostic and Research Laboratory (DRL) of Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) which carries out all major tests was also hit by water shortages.

Different procedures -- around 20 to 28 -- performed in three operation theatres of gynaecology were seriously affected. “We can adjourn elective procedures but not those of emergency nature like C-section,” said the RMO labour room, Dr Mahwish.

“Blood needs to be cleansed in labour room which obviously needs water. Other needs of water in OT are compromised seriously. Doctors and staff need to clean themselves with water after surgeries besides using of antiseptic solution,” she said.

She said that MS had arranged water supply through tankers to meet critical needs in the hospital and labour rooms had been given preference given the nature of emergencies.

LUH administration’s complaint has been forwarded by mayor to Wasa 10 days back but the situation remains unchanged. MS has now written to DC and MD Wasa as well.

Hesco spokesman Sadiq Kubar disputed Wasa’s claim that load-shedding was affecting water supply system. Hesco was observing only approved shutdown, he said.

Wasa’s two feeders were shut at different times so the question of water supply suspension did not arise, he argued and said that filtration plants on Jamshoro road were connected with three separate feeders. “In fact Wasa is trying to shift the responsibility in view of its own failures,” he charged.

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