LARKANA: The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine of Chandka Medical College Hospital (CMCH) has been non-functional for the past three months, causing serious hardships to the poor patients of entire Larkana Division.
Sources at the CMCH told reporters on Wednesday that three minor and major parts of the machine had gone out of order due to frequent electricity fluctuation and the same had been imported by the suppliers but required clearance at Karachi port. The CMCH medical superintendent (MS) has been repeatedly asked by the company to issue a letter and certificate in the name of customs to get the clearance, but he has been reluctant to do the same being inexperienced, sources said.
There are no customs duties or sales tax for medical machinery and equipment if the importing hospital is having 300 or above bed capacity. But even then the CMCH and health department suspect that the imported items are for other customers of the suppliers, without verifying the ground realities.
MRI of Nawabshah Hospital is also out of order since long and its parts are also pending customs clearance at the port.
The suppliers Shirazi Trading Company, Karachi also wrote a letter to health secretary on December 20, 2017, requesting to approach State Bank of Pakistan to get the approval of Electronic Import Form (EIF) which will enable them to clear the consignment of parts of MRI Nawabshah and Larkana. But no action has been taken as yet resulting in a loss of vital diagnostic facilities at both these major teaching hospitals.
The parts were airlifted by the manufacturers between October 19, 2017, and November 17, 2017, which include cradle wheel, fibre optics cable, SCP-III board and water flow turbine.
Approximately ten MRI tests were conducted daily at the CMCH and more cannot be entertained due to worst electricity load shedding in this 1500-capacity hospital.
Peoples Medical College Hospital, Nawabshah MS Dr Muzaffar Ali Chandio said while to PPI that they had written letters to the health department for completing all the requirements of the suppliers so that parts could be cleared and MRI machines could be made functional at Nawabshah and Larkana. He added that he is unaware of further actions.
CMCH MS Dr Ali Gohar Dahri said that he too had written to the additional secretary (development), besides health secretary, to resolve the issue immediately so that poor patients do not suffer. He hoped that the machine would be made operational after a week.