The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) has devoted nearly 12.5 per cent of its budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, or Rs3.975 billion, for medical and health services. Receipts are expected to come to Rs74.08 million.
On the development front, Rs380 million was set aside for renovation of the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, purchase of equipment for the Leprosy hospital, the completion of the Cardiac Emergency Centre on Shahrah-e-Faisal and other projects.
The number of seats at Karachi Medical and Dental College would be increased from 100 to 350, and Rs348 million has been allocated for the institution.
The corporation also set aside funds for the city’s ailing emergency response system. Emergency centres have already been set up at Nagan Chowrangi, Jail Chowrangi and NIPA Chowrangi, while work is going on at 10 more centres across key locations in the city.
While talking about the progress of projects initiated last year, Karachi administrator Muhammad Hussain Syed claimed that a centre for drug addicts and a five-storey building, enough to contain 200 beds, at Sobhraj Hospital were completed. Meanwhile, the Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases was equipped with a 14-bed critical care unit and a state of the art CT angioplasty machine. The civic body has already purchased 36 fumigation vehicles for the spray campaigns to tackle dengue and malaria outbreaks.
However, apart from the above-mentioned projects, minimal progress seems to have been made on other projects that were announced last year. KMC had allocated Rs 462.582 million for development, primarily for installing medical facilities in underprivileged areas. Other highlights from the previous budget included Rs19.9 million for the construction of a maternity home, equipped with a dispensary, at Gaboput Keamari, Rs42.6 million for upgrading the basic health unit at Lassi Goth into a 35-bed hospital, and Rs19.8 million for improvements at MCH Centre.
However, an official from KMC’s annual development programme, who did not want to be named, defended the progress on the projects, and said that delays were caused by the untimely release of funds.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2012.
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