ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel on Tuesday slammed the poor facilities at the public sector hospitals in the federal capital, noting that they were insufficient.
The matter was taken up in the National Assembly Standing Committee on Health on Tuesday. The session was presided over by Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) MNA Khalid Hussain Magsi.
During the meeting, Federal Health Minister Aamer Mehmood Kiani gave a briefing on the various issues and key projects of the ministry.
The meeting was told that after the federal health ministry had been given control of the public health facilities in Islamabad, the ministry had been taking steps to improve the health sector in the city.
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In this regard, they were working on establishing new hospitals in the federal capital apart from revamping and upgrading all medical dispensaries in the city.
Kiani further told the committee that federal hospitals face a shortage of nursing staff and doctors.
He added that the ministry was striving to improve the condition of Federal Government Poly Clinic (FGPC) hospital.
He said that a total of five new bills relating to the health sector were being introduced in the parliament by the government.
Moreover, he added that the government has planned free hepatitis screening for 100,000 citizens of the federal capital.
The federal minister observed that the health sector was a picture of negligence during the tenure of past governments.
However, he cited the priorities of the incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and said that measures were being undertaken to improve the sector.
He added that it will take time to revamp the entire health system.
Apart from undertaking administrative steps, he said that they were also looking to increase the budget allocated to the health sector.
To provide free medical facilities to the poorest citizens of the country, Kiani said that the government had launched the Sehat Insaf Card apart from increasing its limit.
Kiani maintained that health card will not only covered insurance against a number of diseases but also assured the provision of Rs10,000 as burial expense for the patients who do not survive treatment.
An additional Rs1,000 would be paid on account of conveyance expenses.
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Furthermore, he said that patients will be provided with medicines for free for five days after their discharge.
The minister said that health cards will be distributed as per the scores of the poverty survey conducted by the Benazir Income Support Programme.
He further said that the authorities have decided to include media representatives and artists in the programme, the arrangements for which have already begun.
The session was informed that the government had introduced five new bills for improvement in the health sector.
The first bill was related to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).
PMDC was being handed over to a board of governors numerating 17 members. He added that currently, the board does not have a single representative from the ministry of health.
The standing committee’s chairman called for a detailed briefing from all departments working under the health ministry so that lawmakers can be briefed on the problems which exist.
The session also reviewed recommendations for the health budget for the next fiscal year.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2019.
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