Patients at stake as Pakistan’s mega city has only five female MLOs

KARACHI:Pakistan’s most populous city Karachi is facing acute shortage of female medico-legal officers (MLOs) as only five MLOs are available for entire city, PPI learnt Thursday.

Two women MLOs are working at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and two others at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and one at the Karachi Civil Hospital. The number of posts of lady MLOs has not been increased for decades despite the fact that the crime ratio has increased manifold.

According to a report compiled by Sindh health department, around 3,500 post-mortems are carried out in the city each year, whereas 30,000 affected people are issued medico-legal certificates annually in different cases. These certificates help victims’ families in seeking justices from courts of law. There are 30 vacancies for female MLOs in designated hospitals of Karachi.

Three major public hospitals of Karachi, including Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK) and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital (ASH), are facing acute shortage of female medico-legal officers (MLOs), as a result, the women patients and their attendants have to wait several days to get examine from female MLOs.

The acute shortage of female MLOs has increased the burden of work in male MLOs in major public hospitals, while in case of any emergency existing male and female MLOs have to work extra hours against their duty hours.

There is urgent need of female MLOs in all major hospitals of Karachi to handle the emergency cases and also to minimize the extra burden male MLOs major hospitals of city. 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.