By Our Staff Reporter
Islamabad: The federal government with a view to improving working of health institutions operating in the Islamabad capital territory is actively considering establishment of Islamabad Health Authority.
According to sources, the ministry of planning, development and reforms, on the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is chalking out a plan for setting up the proposed Islamabad Health Authority. The ministry which is currently working on a comprehensive plan had arranged a series of meetings and forums to take input of technical people so as to bring about radical changes in the health sector which is in pathetic condition.
Elaborating, the sources said that in a recently held forum on the subject, the speakers, most of whom having rich background in dealing with the management of health sector at various levels, suggested that first of all the government should enhance the spending on health sector up to four per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and gradually increase it in coming years to meet the basic needs of providing adequate health cover to the masses.
They said that Pakistan is currently spending 2.8pc of GDP on health sectors but some independent observers, including World Health Organization (WHO), consider the actual spending on health sector is less than 2pc of GDP due to pilferage and misuse of funds. In fact, the allocation of 4pc of GDP and strict administrative control was bound to give a boost to the health facilities available in the public sector, they opined.
The forum organised by ministry of planning and development was addressed, among others, by Dr M Usman Awan (group coordinator), Najeeb Aslam, Dr Syed Tahir Hijazi, Abeeha Islam, Farhan Aziz Khawaja, Fazal-ur-Rahman, M Zafar Khan, Nasrullah Tareeen, Abdul Qadir ,Hassan Mughal and Asif Shafiq Lakhvi.
The participants of the forum, according to sources, recommended that the future health policy should focus on preventive medicine and create awareness among the public how they could keep themselves safe from various diseases by adopting certain preventive measures.
They also proposed that funding for vertical health programmes should be provided by the federal government for special territories such as Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
DENTAL HEALTH: Participants of the forum with a view to upgrading dental health facilities in the country recommended to the federal government to increase the duration of bachelor of dental surgery (BDS) to five years and add seven new subjects, including behavioural health, bioethics and research methodology to its curricula.
They also suggested that any public sector dental institution should be given the pilot programme to introduce five-year BDS programme with seven new courses from 2016 or 17 onwards, while the nomenclature of BDS should be changed to DDS (doctor in dental surgery).
Noting that dental education in Pakistan is not at par with international standards, they proposed that Dental Council should be separated from PMDC with a separate budget of one per cent in PSDP, saying internationally dental councils function independently.