Sindh likely to get an air ambulance in upcoming fiscal year

Govt will acquire a helicopter to improve immunisation rate and for rescue purposes

Mudaser Kazi June 01, 2017
A mother tends to her young son suffering from measles at a Red Cross hospital in the southern Sindh province city of Sukkur on January 1, 2013. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

KARACHI: The health department is considering acquiring a helicopter in the upcoming fiscal year, with the aim of improving the overall immunisation rate through monitoring and for rescue purposes in cases of emergencies, revealed Health Secretary Dr Fazullah Pechuho.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Pechuho said Sindh will get Rs178 billion in the coming 13 years as its share in the national immunisation support programme and they hope to achieve an 80% immunisation rate in the province by 2030. He believes that through the air ambulance service, union council-based monitoring will be carried out to increase the percentage of immunisation in far-flung areas of the province.

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According to him, the service will be used exclusively for the purpose for immunisation and rescue in the emergencies. Using it for emergency rescues could reduce the mortality rate in road traffic accidents by up to 50%.

Increase in nursing allowance

In the upcoming fiscal year, the nursing allowance has also been raised up to Rs10,000 from BPS-16 and above, which was earlier Rs6,000 for grade-16 and Rs4,000 for grade-17 and above, across the province. The uniform allowance has been raised from Rs600 to Rs3,100 for grade-16 and Rs2,100 for grade-17 and above. The mess allowance has been from Rs300 to Rs8,000 for BPS-16 and Rs6,500 for grade-17 and above. "Through this, the working conditions of nursing staff in the province will improve and subsequently so will the health care services," he explained.

"Besides this, a drug testing laboratory and drug storage facility for maintaining cold chain in the province will also be set up to increase efficiency and store medicine in a proper manner," he claimed.

Health schemes for 2017-18

The total Annual Development Programme (ADP) in the health sector for the fiscal year 2017-18 is Rs15.5 billion, of which 80% will be allocated for ongoing schemes while 20% will be set aside for new health initiatives. However, according to an official of the health department, the ADP for 2016-17 was Rs14 billion and the department expect to spend more than 80% by the end of the current fiscal year.

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The major health schemes planned to be initiated in the 2017-18 fiscal year include the establishment of a medical college in Hala, Matiari district, at a cost Rs4 billion and a 200-bed hospital in Sukkur at a cost of Rs600 million.

New initiatives in the health sector, for which funds have been allocated in the upcoming fiscal year, include the upgrade of Taluka Hospital, Sujawal to a district headquarter hospital at a cost of Rs800 million.

Establishment of cancer wards in Mirpurkhas and Jamshoro at a cost of Rs200 million and implementation of the automation of the health department at a cost of Rs1.2billion are among other health schemes that will be initiated in the upcoming fiscal year.

The major health projects planned to be completed during the 2017-18 fiscal year are the provision of equipment for a surgical complex at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre in Karachi, which will cost Rs425.5 million. Establishment of the Benazir Institute of Urology and Transplantation in Benazirabad district at a cost of Rs741.13 million is also included in the list of major projects.

Other projects that are to be completed in the upcoming fiscal year include the establishment of a 50-bed intensive care unit, strengthening of Liaquat University Hospital, Hyderabad, expansion of the outpatient department at the Ghulam Muhammad Mahar Medical College Hospital, Sukkur and strengthening of the physiotherapy departments at all teaching hospitals across Sindh.

Establishment of a 25-bed trauma centre at the Sindh Government Lyari General Hospital, Karachi at a cost of Rs797.14 million and establishment of the Sindh Institute of Traumatology, orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at NIPA, Karachi at a cost of Rs1.7 billion are also among the projects that will be completed in the upcoming fiscal year.

The 200-bed Shaheed Mohtarma Benair Bhutto Hospital in Mominabad, Karachi, which will cost Rs555.99 million, is among other major projects for which budgetary allocations have been made for the upcoming fiscal year.

Other major projects include the establishment of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Medical Complex along the National Highway in Bin Qasim Town at a cost of Rs1.43 billion, expansion of Abbasi Shaheed Hospital at a cost of Rs945.36 million and establishment of paediatric cardiology unit at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Karachi at a cost of Rs1.74 billion. Rs1.42 billion has been allotted for Chandka Medical College and Rs1.42 billion for the strengthening of Pir Abdul Qadir Shah Jeelani Institute of Medical Sciences in Gambat.

"The amount is satisfactory if it is utilised properly and can bring subsequent improvement on the ground," Pechuho said.

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