The Health Regularity Authority (HRA) appears incapable of achieving its aim of monitoring private medical services and substandard healthcare.
Since its formation in 2002, the HRA has failed to construct its own building and is still working at a rented building for Rs70,000 per month. The entire office has one functioning computer, which is used for official notifications. The other two computers are currently not working.
The role of the HRA is to act on complaints received about substandard health facilities, extortion in paying for medical fees and other healthcare industry problems, as well as to take legal action. However, many residents in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are not aware that such an authority exists.
This authority is also responsible for investigating various medical institutions when it receives complaints from all areas of the province. It currently has four inspectors, one admin officer, one legal officer, three office assistants, eight junior clerks, one senior clerk, four drivers, one secretary and a chairman. It is also responsible for registering laboratories and clinics, and setting fees of doctors and laboratories across the province. The HRA has failed to do this and does not have a record about how many clinics are currently registered.
“Our annual budget is Rs20 million but we have only been provided Rs7 million so far,” HRA Chairman Muhammad Muzafar Khan told The Express Tribune. He said that the posts of administration director and deputy director were also vacant as sufficient funds were not available.
“How can we act on complaints received from all over province with just two vehicles, four inspectors and insufficient funds for fuel?” the chairman asked.
Special Secretary for Health, Dr Noorul Iman, said that the ‘Health Regularity Services Bill’ had been submitted to Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti for approval. This bill will give the HRA district-level jurisdiction, with an office in each district. He said the HRA hopes to expand it operations in order to reduce the number of fake medical practitioners and substandard health care being provided in the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2012.
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