KARACHI: The Medico-Legal Department of Karachi has been facing an acute shortage of male and female medico-legal officers (MLOs) in the megacity for several years.
Karachi Police Surgeon, Dr Ejaz Ahmed Khokhar, while talking to PPI said that there are 71 sanctioned posts in the department, out of which 40 are lying vacant in the city. The shortage of medico-legal officers has put an extra-burden on existing MLOs.
He said that only three Medico-Legal Centres (MLC) are fully functional in Karachi, including Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital while MLC Sindh Government Qatar Hospital and Sindh Government Hospital Saudabad are partially operational.
The several posts are lying vacant in the medico-legal department while the strength of MLOs both male and female has not increased as per population of the city.
He explained that the plan to make functional Medico-Legal Centres at Sindh Government Lyari General Hospital, Sindh Government Hospital Liaqatabad, Sindh Government Hospital New Karachi and Sindh Government Hospital Korangi has not materialized yet due to a shortage of MLOs.
Dr Khokhar said ideally there should be at least four women and six male MLOs in every hospital, but new doctors are not interested in entering the medico-legal sector while with the passage of time, senior MLOs are getting retired. If the current situation persisted, there would also be a lack of medico-legal officers in the future.
The MLO’s report containing the cause of death, time of death, nature of death, and other details compiled in an official form at the time of autopsy provides the basis for a court’s case, carrying an impact on the final decision. But unfortunately, key posts lay vacant in major health facilities.
The Medico-Legal Department of Karachi was unable to dispose of fresh cases of rape, lady injured and dead bodies within proper time to the shortage of Women Medico-Legal Officers at Centres. There is no budget allocation to the Medico-Legal Centres and training system for new male & female MLOs in the province.
He informed that doctors, both male and female, had been hired through Sindh Public Services Commission for the job but they have not joined their duties as yet and there is an urgent need to fill the vacant posts and increase the strength of MLOs as per population and crime ratio in the megacity.