LAHORE: Punjab’s Social Welfare Department (SWD) has failed to maintain six old age homes because of the negligence of government officials, said a report issued by the Directorate General Monitoring & Evaluation (DGM&E).
The first old age home was established by the Social Welfare Department in 1975 under the name of “Aafiat” in Lahore. Later, five more homes were established in the Multan, Rawalpindi, Narowal, Sahiwal and Toba Tak Singh.
Sources revealed that the facilities were surveyed twice by DGM&E officials (in 2012 and 2019) and the directorate had found the establishment in Lahore to be ill-kept and lacking in basic provisions.
A similar state of affairs was also recorded at old age homes in Multan and Sahiwal.
The DGM&E report stated that all old-age-homes (excluding Lahore) had less number of resident than their capacity.
“They were also facing administrative and management issues due to the shortage of staff. In Lahore, Sahiwal and Multan, it was observed that most of these rooms were untidy and poorly maintained. In some of these rooms, residents were using gas cylinders and stoves for making tea or cooking that appeared to be a safety hazard and should be discouraged.”
In its observation of the Rawalpindi old age home, the report stated, “A building block with a capacity of 12 rooms was completed in 2010. However, the C&W (Communication and Works) department had not handed over the building to the social welfare department, which, of course, amounts to squandering of resources.
No attendant was available in the centre, which undermined the objectives of the project, said the report.
According to residents, they do not have a barber available at the centre.
The report said the resident were facing several chronic health issues such as hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and asthma and a large number of them requested Sehat Insaf Cards to meet their medical expenditures.
In its review of the old age home in Narowal, the report stated, “Only 25 beds were occupied out of a capacity of 50. Remaining beds were vacant and there were no applications pending for residence. This state of affair shows that periodic effective awareness campaign is required.”
The teams also surveyed old age homes in Multan, Sahiwal and Lahore. According to their observations, there was no cook and security guard at the facility in Multan.
“The old age home in Sahiwal was a spacious facility with some beautiful grownup fruit and shade-trees. However, there was no gardener to look after them.”
“In Toba Tek Singh the upper portion of the building had been vacant since the time the establishment was set up. Due to poor construction quality and inadequate maintenance, the upper portion of this building is dysfunctional. The extra furniture and other goods were placed in stores without proper record keeping. Additionally, the inmates did not have cupboards for their belongings.”
“Cooks were not available to the inmates of Rawalpindi, Sahiwal and Multan and inmates had to resort to preparing their own meals,” said the report, adding regular medical checkup and recreational services, counselling services, establishment of senior citizen’s club, technical/vocational training in collaboration with the other social welfare institutions were also lacking at these facilities.