Sindh spends over Rs2.5b on Covid-19 in two months
Lion's share of Coronavirus Emergency Fund used to set up Expo Centre isolation facility
HYDERABAD: The Sindh government spent over Rs2.5 billion of the Coronavirus Emergency Fund (CEF) and associated grants between early March and the first week of May.
The government had released Rs1.919 billion on account of special grants to health authorities, district administrations, hospitals and laboratories, while the amount released from the CEF by April 30 totalled over Rs598 million.
Of the amount released from the CEF, the lion's share of Rs133.94 million was utilised in setting up a field isolation centre at the Expo Centre, Karachi. The amount was released in seven instalments from March 22 to April 22, with the last disbursement being that of Rs100 million.
Another sum of Rs30 million was made available for establishing a field isolation centre at the PAF Museum in Karachi.
Meanwhile, the provincial government spent Rs205 million on the purchase of the coronavirus testing kits, while the procurement of viral transport medium (VTM) kits consumed Rs156.9 million through two separate disbursements.
While government records show that Rs32.343 million was used to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), doctors, nurses, paramedics and other staff at government hospitals have continued to complain of a shortage of safety gear.
SIUT faces surge of comorbid Covid-19 patients
Other expenditures include the spending of Rs9.5 million on defibrillators, Rs3.36 million on hand sanitisers, Rs3 million on extraction kits and Rs2.5 million on spunbond fabric.
A sum of Rs12.475 million was utilised for purchasing unspecified, miscellaneous medical supplies, government records show.
Separately, from the amount released on account of special grants, the Sindh government provided Rs1.08 billion to the deputy commissioners (DCs) of all the province's districts for the distribution of rations among the needy. The government released the first tranche of Rs580 million on March 26, and the second of Rs500 million on April 6.
The Indus Hospital, Karachi, stands out as the recipient of the largest grant, amounting to over Rs300 million, among all hospitals in the province. The amount in question was the second grant released by the provincial government from its non-development budget for Covid-19 contingencies.
Meanwhile, the Sindh health services director general's office in Hyderabad was the first recipient of the grant on March 2, receiving Rs100 million from the provincial government.
The health services director in Karachi received almost Rs60 million in two instalments, while the health department's secretariat received Rs50 million in March.
Moreover, the government spent Rs13.4 million on setting up an intensive care unit for coronavirus patients at Services Hospital in Karachi. Meanwhile, the Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research, at the University of Karachi, was provided Rs58.28 million for conducting free virus tests. The university's International Centre for Biological and Chemical Sciences was also issued Rs25.5 million. Besides, the government released Rs25 million for the purchase of biosafety and testing kits for Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital.
From the grants issued to DCs, the Sukkur DC received Rs90 million in three equal installments, the Malir DC received Rs50 million, the Hyderabad DC Rs30 million, the Shikarpur DC Rs1.17 million and the Jamshoro and Larkana DCs Rs5 million each.
Apart from these funds, Rs15 million was given to the district headquarter hospital in Umerkot.