KARACHI: The Sindh Cabinet took a difficult but historical decision on February 26th, 2019 and decided to bring the remuneration of the doctors of Sindh government at par with the doctors of Punjab at an annual cost of Rs5.6 billion.
The cabinet also decided that there would be appropriate legislation pertaining to the enhancement of remuneration of doctors, teachers, and other professionals with their performance and achievements.
The cabinet meeting was held under the chairmanship of the Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah and was attended by the Chief Secretary, Mumtaz Shah, all provincial ministers, advisors to the Chief Minister, special assistants, Advocate General, Sindh, and other officers.
The health department presented an agenda item in the cabinet to provide the current remuneration being paid to the doctors of the Sindh government (BPS-17 to BPS-20), house job officers, and postgraduate students in line with the existing remuneration of the doctors of Punjab.
The cabinet discussed the matter thoroughly, and most of the cabinet members were of the view that the enhancement of salary package must be based on performance, punctuality, and readiness to serve in hard areas wherever their services are required.
The Chief Minister intervened and said that the decision to revise the remuneration of the doctors was quite difficult for him keeping in view the financial impact but “we want to meet this demand of the doctors on the hope that they would serve to their best abilities,” he said.
Sindh Health Minister, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, and the Secretary Health briefed the cabinet about the proposal under which Rs10000 per month would be given to postgraduate candidates in addition to their existing remuneration.
Rs15000 per month would also be added in the existing stipend. The health department would also revise the remuneration of all serving doctors from grade BPS-17 to BPS-20 and will bring their remuneration at par with the salary of the doctors serving in Punjab if the cabinet approves.
The cabinet approved the proposal under which a special monthly health allowance of Rs10000 would be given to the doctors of Grade BPS-17 and grade 18 and Rs5000 to the doctors of grade BPS-19 and 20.
The health professional allowance has been increased from Rs23851 to Rs28472 for grade 17, from Rs15956 to Rs19175 for grade BPS-18, from Rs15935 to Rs19100 for grade BPS-19 and from Rs15961 to Rs19192 for grade PBS-20 doctors. Every doctor would get two allowances, professional and special health care allowances; therefore the total impact would approximate to Rs5.6 billion.
PPHI contract extended
The health department told the cabinet that the MoU between the health department and Peoples Primary Health Initiative (PPHI) had expired on December 12, 2018. The PPHI was managing 1176 health facilities throughout Sindh with the support of the Sindh government.
The cabinet was informed that the Chief Executive Officer of PPHI had initiated a request for renewal of MoU for another period of five years with effect from December 2018 to December 2023. The cabinet approved the request and decided to conduct third-party audit and sharing of the PPHI expenditures.
North Karachi Hospital funds approved
The Sindh Cabinet was told that the North Karachi Children’s Hospital contracted out to Poverty Eradication Initiative (PEI). When the administration of the hospital was handed over to PEI, it was also given Rs439.82 million as the first tranche with the condition that the next tranche would be released after receiving the audit report. The auditors had raised some objections; therefore, the further release of funds was stopped. Now, all the audit paras have been cleared; thus the cabinet approved the release of another tranche of funds.
It was decided to revisit the agreement between the health department and the PEI and revise some clauses. Some cabinet members termed the performance of the PEI not up to the mark. Therefore, the private partner, PEI, was urged to improve their performance. The OPD of the hospital recorded over 27004 per month.
KMDC upgraded to university
Minister, Local Government, Saeed Ghani, told the cabinet that the Mayor of Karachi has put up a request that the transformation of Karachi Medical & Dental College to a University has been a long-standing issue.
The KMDC was established in the early 1990s with 50 seats for MBBS and 10 seats for BDS. Now there are 250 MBBS seats, and 100 seats for BDS and the total strength of the students approximate to 1650. The KMDC has eight constituent teaching hospitals, including Abbasi Shaheed, KIHD, Sobhraj, and others. The institute’s bed strength has also increased to 2500.
The local government minister told the cabinet that the KMC council and other forums have also approved the resolution for the transformation of the KMDC as an independent university. The cabinet approved the proposal and referred the bill to a committee comprising of the Local Government Minister, Minister Health, Minister Education, and Advisor to CM, Murtaza Wahab, to improve the draft and send it to the assembly.
Occupation Safety & Health Council:
The Sindh Cabinet approved the establishment of the Occupational Safety & Health Council Sindh under Secretary Labour as its chairman and five government representatives (Industries, SBCA, Health, EPA and Fire Department). On the council, four members would represent the employees; four representatives would represent the workers, four would be health professionals, three from the civil society and an officer from the Directorate of Labour.
The council shall perform the functions as follows:
Advice the government on all matters relating to the objects of the act which the government may refer to the council; and review the legislation relating to occupational safety and health. The board may make recommendations with regard to the formulation and implementation of provincial policies and strategies relating to occupational safety and health. The actions to facilitate cooperation between the government, employers, workers and any other persons or organizations engaged in occupational activities, etc. The cabinet approved the council.