KARACHI: The obstetrics and gynecology department of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) received a major uplift on Thursday with the inauguration of a state-of-the-art 120-bed maternity ward.
The Rs628m facility, funded by the USAID, replaces the old 80-bed ward at the department.
The well-attended programme was more than an hour behind its scheduled time, which caused a lot of inconvenience to the guests already annoyed by security checks.
At the ceremony, JPMC executive director Prof Anisuddin Bhatti thanked all those who helped the hospital progress over the years. He said: “This august inauguration is, in fact, a celebration of the strengthening of ties between the two nations. Not long ago in 2012, the American people, through the USAID, had revived an old friendship and gifted a $4.5m obstetric/gynecology facility to the hospital.”
The new unit, he pointed out, would help cater to the needs of poor patients whose numbers was growing every year.
“Last year, the JPMC catered to one million outdoor patients, 60,000 indoor patients and 400,000 emergency/trauma patients. Around 90,000 outdoor patients, 16,000 indoor patients and 14,000 deliveries were handled at the obstetric and gynecology department,” he said.
Tracing the history of US cooperation in developing facilities at the hospital, Prof Bhatti informed the audience that the American government, through the Indiana University School of Medicine, assisted in establishing the Basic Medical Sciences Institute in 1958 and later extended support to start postgraduate medical education in 1962.
Concluding his speech, he sought US assistance for another project; the establishment of a nursing hostel for the hospital’s 60-year-old school and college of nursing.
USAID Mission Director John Groarke said the project was the latest manifestation of shared values between the two countries, which in this case was protecting the lives of women and children.
“It’s a great day for the people of Pakistan and Sindh. The ultimate success of infrastructures like this is dependent on people with the right skills who could deliver so the patients receive the care they really deserve,” he said, adding that USAID had trained 33,000 health professionals in Pakistan.
He thanked the Tabba Foundation in particular for its contribution to the JPMC and said: “In order for all of us to succeed, it is important that we include the private sector. The work the NGO has done is a model of development for the entire Pakistan.”
US ambassador David Hale said: “America and Pakistan have worked together for many years to solve big challenges such as improving access to high quality health care. These facilities signify our abiding partnership.”
Chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah in his brief speech appreciated the US cooperation especially in the areas of health and education that included the Jacobabad Institute of Medical Sciences inaugurated this year and a number of schools built by the organisation.
“Although the provincial government is doing its best to improve the state of health and education sectors, we greatly appreciate the US assistance and believe this partnership will produce good results.”
Health minister Dr Jam Mehtab Dhar and US consul general Brian Heath also spoke.
The programme ended with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Tabba Foundation and JPMC and presentation of mementos to dignitaries.