Anti-Dengue drive: Peshawar health officials pay for fumigation

K-P govt fails to provide funds promised under Local Government Act 2013

Umer Farooq July 22, 2017

PESHAWAR: In the absence of funds, district health department officials in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are compelled to pay out of their own pocket to carry out different essential operations in the province.

According to the Local Government Act 2013, the provincial government was to release 30 per cent of the total amount under Annual Development Programme to the local governments whereby the local governments were to release around 10 per cent to the health sector of the province.

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But the K-P government failed to release the funds to the district government compelling the health officials to spend their own money.

District health officers were directed by the health department to carry out fumigation as well as awareness campaigns to prevent the spread of dengue virus across the province, the money required for the said operations was given by the district health officials.

“Peshawar DHO Gull Muhammad has paid to purchase all the material required for fumigation in the provincial capital,” a senior health official told The Express Tribune, adding “If this was the situation in the provincial capital, one could imagine the situation in other parts of the province.”

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According to the data available with The Express Tribune, Rs2945.8million were released for all districts across K-P in 2014-15, which was reduced to Rs1842.8million in 2015-16. The amount was again reduced to Rs1024 million in the fiscal year 2016-17. However, the funds for the year 2017-18 are still pending.

“When you drop the district budget from Rs280 million in 2014-15 to Rs113.8 million in 2015-16 and then to Rs61.8 million in 2016-17, what do you expect from us,” the official said.

According to Peshawar DHO Gull Muhammad, there was a need to immediately address some issues which could not be delayed and hence they could not wait for the release of funds by the government.  He confirmed the news that he directed Malaria supervisor to purchase the required items.

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“If you do not have funds, it does not mean you do not do anything. Since dengue cases were reported from Tehkal area of Peshawar, we decided to carry out fumigation so that others could be protected,” Gul Muhammad said.

EVA-BHN meeting

Although not a single district received health budget, the situation in district Swabi is said to be better than all the other districts.

It was revealed during provincial advocacy forum attended by public representatives and health department officials from districts Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan and Swabi.

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In the meeting organised by Empowerment, Voice and Accountability for Better Health and Nutrition (EVA-BHN), government inefficiencies and the steps necessary for improvement were discussed in detail.

K-P Additional Director General Health Services Dr Ayub Roz informed the meeting that steps were being taken to ensure availability of medicines in all the basic health units. He said that the electricity shortage caused problems to carry out the operations in the province successfully but a solarisation plan was being executed in this regard and all the health facilities would be switched over to solar system in the near future.


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