THATTA: The light, which had shone once after four long years of darkness in the life of six-year-old Malala Raho who suffers from a complex visual disorder and lost her sight at the young age of two went out again thanks to negligent officers who did not even care about chief minister`s special directives to provide treatment to the poor girl at government expenses.
The chief minister had taken notice of the girl`s helplessness and ordered the ofhcers concerned of the health department to make arrangements for her treatment after her dejected father Nawaz Wadho, who was an skilled wood-worker, had announced before media persons in Thatta on July 1 that he would commit self-immolation along with his family of seven if state, civil society and philanthropists did not help his daughter get back her vision.
But unfortunately, according to Wadho, Sujawal DHO Ahmed Ali Palijo did not take the chief minister`s orders seriously. The officer was to make arrangements for sending Malala along with her parents to Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS), Jamshoro, to appear before a special team of ophthalmologists for a thorough examination but he handled it very irresponsibly, said Wadho.
He said: `We were provided aramshackle minivan to carry us to LUMHS on July 22 where Dr Maria Memon and Dr Bushra Baloch checked Malala and advised a fresh magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test in addition to other necessary eye tests but Dr Rashid Khoso, who had arrived from DHO Sujawal`s ofhce in his car, disputed the experts` advice after consulting with DHO Palijo on his cell phone, and refused to get the tests done.
He disclosed to Dawn that he knew it because he had accidentally overheard Dr Khoso`s conversation with the DHO at a private laboratory in Hyderabad where they were brought to have the tests.
Dr Khoso briefed the DHO aboutthe tests andthe totalcost they would incur and then toldthe family in a dismissive manner to return to their village without communicating to them the patient`s condition and the treatment plan to be followed from then on, he said.
He said that Dr Khoso rushed back to his hometown Mirpurkhas leaving them at the mercy of the van driver, who was supposed to take them back to their village, Gul Mohammad Raho, in Mirpur Bathoro taluka, 92 kilometres from Hyderabad.
He said that halfway through the journey the driver parked the van on the roadside and asked them to leave on the pretext that the vehicle had developed some fault. Hungry and tired as the family had not even been given anything to eat throughout the day, Wadho andhis wife Basra started walking on foot under rain, lightning and thunderstorm taking turns to carry Malala on their shoulders, he said.
They walked nine kilometres before a sympathetic pickup driver gave them a lift and dropped them at Bathoro stop, two and a half kilometres from their village, he said.
He said that finally their ordeal came to an end as they reached the village at midnight after having walked more than 11 kilometres on foot.
The heartbroken Wadho appealed to Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to direct some honest and God-fearing officers to help her blind daughter and take notice of the negligent functionaries who had not taken his orders seriously.