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PM Khan stresses over accessible quality healthcare

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked the officials concerned to spot the bottlenecks related to administrative and legislative matters in reforming the health sector. He has stressed on the need to remove those practices that have resulted in the decay of health services and have hindered the provision of quality healthcare to the ordinary people.

The PM recently chaired a briefing on health reforms being undertaken in Islamabad Capital Territory, Punjab and KP, at the Prime Minister Office (PMO). He highlighted the significance of state-of-the-art laboratories and a comprehensive mechanism to check for, food contamination leading to stunted growth and other health hazards, in coordination with the concerned authorities at the federal and provincial levels.

The meeting was informed that Islamabad Public Health Management Authority is being established according to the recommendation of Task Force on Health. The PM observed that health management has remained a neglected area in the country, and said that there was a need to ensure effective and robust health management mechanism across the country and to ensure access to quality healthcare for citizens.

Federal Minister for Health Aamir Mehmood Kiani, Adviser to Prime Minister Muhammad Shahzad Arbab, Minister for Health Punjab Dr Yasmin Rashid, Minister for Health KP Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan, federal & provincial secretaries from health department, and other senior government officials were present during the meeting.

Federal Secretary Health briefed the meeting on the National Action Plan for NHSR&C (2019-23), and Islamabad Capital Health Strategy NHSR&C Strategic Plan in the backdrop of abolition of CADD and transferred health service delivery in ICT area to Ministry of NHSR&C. The main objective of the National Action Plan is to identify strategic areas and actions to overcome health challenges through holistic initiatives in health governance, financing, access to essential package of health services, expansion and capacity building of human resources for health, quality of health, adherence to international health regulations and ensuring continuous research and innovation in the healthcare.

For the last 55 years, the hospital beds capacity in the ICT hospitals had remained stagnant at 2000 beds only; under the new Capital Health Strategy, this capacity is being doubled to 4000 beds in a span of five years in the ICT area.

Moreover, a state-of-the-art Cancer Hospital with 200 beds in ICT, a General Hospital at Tarlai having 200 beds, three Mother Child Hospitals with total 120 beds capacity at Bhara Kahu, Rawat and Tarnol are being established and upgraded while refurbishment & upgradation of all Rural Health Centres and Basic Health Units will be done by June 2020, the meeting was further informed.

Federal Secretary Health also briefed that in order to address the issue of shortage of health workforce, particularly the nursing staff; recruitment was in process in all hospitals along with establishment of nursing & associated medical sciences university in ICT.

Minister for Health KP Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan briefed the meeting on the reforms introduced by the provincial Health Ministry during the last 100 days in terms of expansion of Sehat Insaf Cards, assessment of inputs in all health facilities according to new services package, preparation to establish HR Unit in the Health Department & Strengthening of HCC, achievement of 95% measles immunisation coverage in the province, inception of community based complaints and grievance management system & media cell, procurement of MIS & inventory management system, release of GBP 3.2 million for achieving 100% targets set by DFID and an additional GBP 3.2 million for drafting KP Health Policy, amendment of MTI Act, policies on quality of medicines and initiation of Public Private Partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to provide free care to around 0.5 million patients for four non-communicable diseases.

Minister for Health Punjab Dr Yasmin Rashid briefed the meeting that the Punjab Health Department was going to issue Sehat Insaf Cards in four districts namely DG Khan, Rajanpur, Lodhran and Multan. The minister further informed the meeting that five Mother & Child hospitals are being established in the province along with a nursing college. Dr Yasmin Rashid further informed the meeting about the steps being taken for strengthening and capacity building of human resource and measures for prioritising healthcare projects across the province according to the needs of the ordinary people.

January 2, 2019

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