KARACHI: The three devolved health care institutions – the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) and the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) – may still be chafing at devolution but will be funded by the Sindh government for the year ahead.
The Express Tribune has learnt that based on the devolution plan for the institutions, each gets Rs1.6 billion for their expenditure.
Rs200 million each for NICH, NICVD and JPMC has been allocated in the Annual Development Budget for improvement and expansion schemes. The government hopes to add more for the renovation works later. Another major project for the upcoming year is a state-of-the-art trauma centre, which is expected to be completed soon, apart from several other ongoing projects.
While the Sindh government says that its support for the three institutes is proof of its ability to control and effectively manage them, the administrations of the hospitals are still resisting devolution, even though they take financial resources from the province.
A JPMC official said that there has been a drastic impact on the hospital and it is running on low and delayed financial support and necessities. Most at the hospitals feel that their standards will drop drastically and there will be increased interference if the province takes control.
Officials argue that the hospitals’ employees reflect their ‘national status’, since they represent all provinces.
“If we work under the Sindh government we will lose this national character and thus our ability to cater to the entire population irrespective of race and class,” said the official.
However, the Sindh Government claims that it is in the hospitals’ vested interest to remain far from the centre of control, said a health department official on condition of anonymity. The official questioned why hospitals take their resources from the Sindh government, but don’t want to be considered as working under its control. “They don’t have one strong reason to rule out devolution. Why else would a hospital that is in a province and can get so much more from a government that is close by still want to take the trouble of staying with the centre,” the official questioned.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2012.