‘Medical mafia’ in Lahore failing the pro-people Sehat Sahulat Program

Sehat Sahulat Program It has been discovered that most private hospitals don’t accept health cards to treat diseases covered by the program or employ delaying techniques to treat patients who would like to avail of the service.

The cases are being reported in the health facilities of the private as well as public sectors in the capital of the province, where patients are denied treatments under the Sehat Sahulat Programme, and government officials make false claims regarding its success.

A patient who requested not be identified said to Dawn that he brought his seven-year-old son Abu Bakar, complaining of painful testicle pain. He went to Paediatrics Surgery OPD at a privately owned health facility in Shadman in Lahore. “The doctors, after necessary diagnostic tests and ultrasound, concluded that the child is suffering from ‘right-sided hydrocele’, prescribing surgery,” the father explained.

Hydrocele is one of the types of swelling in the scrotum. It develops when fluid builds up within the thin sheath that surrounds the testicle.

The father claims that when he approached the doctors to perform the procedure using a health card, they said they would provide it in two categories: semi-private and private. In further research, He was told that the private option would cost about $110,000, and for semi-private options, he’d need to shell out between Rs80,000 and Rs90,000.

Because the expense of the procedure exceeded the budget of the family with a middle-class income, the father demanded the procedure be carried out with the help of the health card.

“The doctors offered to conduct the procedure under the health card after six months, saying the hospital had a long list of patients put on schedule under the government programme,” the father claimed.

He further stated that another paediatric surgeon, vice chancellor at the University of Health Sciences, and the principal at Allama Iqbal Medical College did not consent to the surgery with the same excuse. However, they decided on the treatment of the child in cash.

The sad father says that he received similar responses from at most ten other private hospital facilities in Lahore, the majority telling him they don’t offer surgery for children. The ones with this surgical facility demanded fees “in cash” to get the work done within the same day or within 24 hours.

“Meanwhile, I came to know that most of the private hospitals’ surgeons were not satisfied with the fee offered to them through the health card, as they normally charge Rs50,000 for even a minor surgery like hydrocele, besides other expenses”, He states.

He complains that surgeons in public hospitals place patients on lengthy waiting lists or encourage them to use private hospitals since they receive only a small amount of money under the insurance scheme.

Similar to this, a woman, Fakhira (name changed), informed this reporter that when visiting a private clinic on Jail Road for the removal of gall bladder in her 26-year-old daughter, following a warning about “irreversible complications” in case delay in the procedure, she had been turned down for the treatment offered under Sehat Sahulat Programme. She claims to have been informed that certain surgeries covered by the health care weren’t “preferred” by the private sector health centres.

Sources from the health sector claim that senior doctors and private hospitals attempted to discredit this program for the people because they feared its success would bring about the end of their dominance.

They believe that the Sehat Sahulat Program could be revolutionary. Still, it is apparent that “the medical mafias” have established a link to make, as have many other initiatives that have been implemented by various governments to help people.


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