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Sindh Refuses to Join National Health Program


KARACHI-Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Media Dr. Musadik Malik said former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif opened the doors of private hospitals for poorest of the poor under PM’s National Health Program but unfortunately Sindh refused to participate in that scheme and deliberately tried to prevent people of Sindh from reaping the benefits of federal health scheme.

“Yet the federal government decided to bear the hundred percent cost of the federal health cards in Sindh and these cards were issued in the districts of Tharparkar and other remote areas of Sindh under the PM’s National Health Program. Although health is a provincial subject now, federal government is still willing to assist Sindh government in provision of better healthcare facilities to people of Sindh”, Dr. Malik told reporters at the sidelines of an international conference on quality and safety of medicines here at a local hotel.

The 2nd International Conference on “Quality, Safety and Outcome: a Paradigm Shift in Pharmacy”, was organized by the Pakistan Society of Health System Pharmacists (PSHP) and it was attended by a large number of senior doctors, healthcare professionals, CEOs and Medical Directors of Public and Private Hospitals, government functionaries, representatives of pharmaceutical industry and pharmacists.

The conference was addressed by Prof Dr Henri R. Manasse from University of Illinois, Chicago United Sates and Ms Jacqueline Surugue from France who especially travelled to Karachi for attending the conference. Both the experts spoke on various aspects of drug safety, patient safety and importance of pharmacists in a healthcare system.

Dr Musadik Malik said although 60 percent of the budget of the country goes to the provinces for provision of basic facilities like health, education and municipal services, ‘some provinces’ were not working upto the expectations of the people and maintained that federal government was ready to assist the those provincial governments in improving healthcare facilities for the sake of people.

“Federal government is already doing a lot for the people of Sindh from constructing Green Line bus project to helping Sindh in coal mining, wind power projects and many other sectors and it can do a lot more for the people of Sindh on the request of the provincial government”, he reporters and hoped that provincial government would perform better and strive hard to improve health facilities to lower the disease burden in the province.

To a query regarding Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, he said both the sons of former Prime Minister were not politicians and independent citizens who had their businesses abroad and it was on their own to decide when to arrive in Pakistan and face the courts. “But Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz are appearing before the courts despite illness of Kulsoom Nawaz Sahiba, who is facing a serious illness and needs complete support of her family”, he added.

Earlier, in his address to the pharmacy conference as chief guest, Dr. Musadik Malik spoke about advancements in the field of science and technology, saying that average of human beings was expected to rise many, many times in the years to come as lab rates were living three times more of their average age while tape worms were living 6-7 times more of their average age in the labs, which shows the advancements in the field of life sciences, health and medicines.

“In the years to come, human organs would be regrown, people would be communicating without any language and medium, babies would be designed as per human aspirations and there would be engineered human beings and cyborgs. The question is, are we ready for these advancements”, he questioned.

Urging young pharmacists, doctors and scientists to pace up with the growing advancements in the field of science and technology, especially in the area of medicines, he urged pharmacists and doctors on patient safety and strive to alleviate their sufferings instead of looking into the economy of these interventions.

Director General Health, Pakistan and President of Pakistan Pharmacy Council Dr. Asad Hafeez said federal government was establishing a Federal Healthcare Commission in coming days which would regulate hospitals, laboratories and pharmacies in the federal capital territory and added that federal cabinet had already approved the constitution of the said healthcare commission.

“A bill in this regard is expected to be presented in the next session of the Parliament for approval. On the other hands, Punjab Healthcare Commission is already functioning while Sindh’s Commission is in the advance stages of becoming functional”, DG Health added.

To a query, he deplored that thousands of pharmacies were functioning without qualified pharmacists despite strict regulations in this regard and vowed that Pakistan Pharmacy Council would recommend to the regulators to take stock of the situation and create patient environment in the country.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) DRAP Dr. Muhammad Aslam on the occasion told newsmen that drug regulatory authority was working with the pharmaceutical industry to minimize medication errors and in this regard, this conference was a great milestone where all stakeholders had been invited to discuss patient safety, drug safety and all related issues.

He claimed that new laws and regulations had been introduced under which over pricing was a serious offence while jail terms and heavy fines were being imposed on people selling spurious drugs.

Executive Director NICVD Prof. Nadeem Qamar said they had increased the role of pharmacists at their hospital and claimed that they saved a “lot of money”, through this approach as pharmacists helped in lowering the quantity and doses of medicines, especially antibiotics while patient care was improved to a large extent.

PSHP President Abdul Latif Shaikh said half a million people die in Pakistan due to medication errors and hoped that this conference would help in learning from these mistakes and reducing patient mortality due to such fatal errors.

NICH Director Prof. Jamal Raza urged Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan not to register substandard drugs as they were facing a lot of problems in giving such medicines to young children and added that many lifesaving drugs were also not registered in Pakistan, which also required immediate attention of the authority.

Director Baqai Institute of Diabetology (BIDE) Prof. Abdul Basit called for establishing 3000 more primary healthcare centers in Pakistan to take care of the diabetics, saying Pakistan has now one of the highest number of diabetics above the age of 20, which is 26.3 percent as per a recent survery conducted by them in collaboration with federal government.

 “We will have to work for the prevention of diseases and not the treatment as even the developed countries of the world cannot bear the burden of such a large number of patients of only a single disease”, he maintained.

The conference was also addressed by eh people from pharmaceutical industry, academician, regulators and doctors while a large number of pharmacists and pharmacy students attended the moot.

October 27, 2017

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