KARACHI: The Pakistan People’s Party-led Sindh Government significantly increased the health budget from PKR 120 billion to 139.1 billion in the FY 2020-21 to deal with the ongoing epidemic as well as other contagious diseases.
CM Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, in his budget speech, said that health continues to remain the third largest sector with allocation for current revenue expenditure of PKR 120 billion and development, including foreign project assistance at PKR 15.5 billion in the financial year 2019-20. In the next fiscal year 2020-21, the total current revenue expenditure is budgeted at PKR 139.1 billion, while the allocation for development schemes is PKR 23.5 billion.
We feel that there is a need to understand the dynamics of how we tackled that threat of COVID-19 and how our preparedness and prompt action saved lives. For this, we need to dig deep into the Health Department’s function and take a good look into its operations, he said.
Regarding corona testing, Murad Ali Shah said that the capacity of corona testing in the province had been increased to 11,450 daily, adding that 81 quarantine centers with a capacity of 8266 beds have been set up in all the districts and this capacity will be increased to 8616 by June 2020.
The budget of the Health Department is divided into two major segments, i.e., health services and medical education. The budget estimates for the Health Department for the financial year 2019-20 was PKR 120.486 billion and has been increased to PKR 139.178 billion for the next fiscal year 2020-21.
He informed that PKR 7 billion had been allocated in the next financial year 2020-21 for nine vertical programs to combat and control polio, TB, AIDS, lady health workers’ program, hepatitis control, expanded program for immunization and others. These programs have also been shifted from development to regular budget in the next financial year 2020-21.
The main features include PKR 559.4 million for the TB Control Program Sindh and PKR 5.5 billion for a multi-sectoral accelerated action plan for the reeducation of stunting and malnutrition in various departments, including health. Murad Ali Shah further noted that PKR 1.2 billion had been assigned for Lady Health Workers (LHW) Program, PKR 1.9 billion for the prevention and control of hepatitis in Sindh, PKR 267.9 million for maternal, neonatal, and child health, PKR 2.3 billion for the EPI program Sindh, PKR 1 billion for the 200-bed infectious disease control hospital NIPA, PKR 1 billion for the up-gradation and operationalization of newly completed 22 health facilities, PKR 234.6 million for the up-gradation of healthcare services for Lyari General Hospital Karachi, and PKR 521.1 million for taking over health facilities of proscribed organizations in Sindh.
The CM said that in the current financial year 2019-20, PKR RS. 4.0 billion has been allocated as a special grant. Out of this, PKR 2 billion is for its current operation, and PKR 2 billion is for the expansion of the Indus Hospital Karachi. PKR 1.5 billion has been allocated for purchasing plant and machinery in existing health facilities in Sindh, and PKR 250 million has been allocated for purchasing and fixing the furniture in the health facilities of Sindh.
Moreover, PKR 1 billion has been allocated for the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) Karachi, PKR 5.1 billion has been assigned to the Sindh Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (Lyari Karachi), Larkana, Sehwan, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Tando Muhammad Khan, Shaheed Benazirabad, Khairpur, Mithi, and Karachi.
The Sindh government is providing PKR 2.5 billion for PPP health department, PKR 3.6 for the Pir Abdul Qadir Shah Jeelani Institute of Medical Sciences, Gambat, PKR 300 million for the Institute of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Hyderabad, PKR 600 million for the Jacobabad Institute of Medical Sciences. PKR 1.7 billion for the SMBB Trauma Centre, and PKR 300to the Shahdadpur Institute of Medical Sciences.
Murad Ali Shah said PKR 5.6 billion had been allotted to the SIUT, PKR 6.5 billion to the PPHI Sindh, PKR 500 million to the NIBD, PKR 900 million for the Child Life Foundation, PKR 100 million for the Institute of Physical and Rehabilitation Karachi, and PKR 365 million for the Health Care Commission.