A two member bench of the Supreme Court summoned the provincial health secretaries of all four provinces on Wednesday and sought detailed reports on healthcare facilities and service structures for young doctors.
Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani and Justice Mian Saqib Nisar were hearing a suo motu case into the deaths of cardiac patients due to spurious medicines handed out by the Punjab Institute of Cardiology.
During the course of hearing, Justice Nisar strongly criticised the Young Doctors Association, telling its representatives that going on strike and stopping other doctors from working was cruel and unprofessional.
The court directed the Punjab government to submit a report on the genuine grievances of young doctors and on how the government is going to redress them.
Meanwhile, the court also sought a report from the cabinet division secretary over measures being taken to control polio and Hepatitis-C. The bench also asked them to give their proposals to make hospitals’ system as well as the Drug Regulatory Authority effective.
Representatives of the Sheikh Zayad Hospital requested the court to stop the handing over of the hospital to the Punjab government. They said that the hospital was running on the federal government’s grant, which will end after it is handed over.
The Punjab advocate general told the court that 48,000 people were affected by reaction of spurious medicines but due to the timely action of Punjab government only 150 people died, which, he added, is a very small number as compared to those affected.
He assured the court that appropriate steps would be taken regarding autonomy of the Shaikh Zayad Hospital.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2012.