Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday asked for doctors’ advice regarding a public health initiative to issue health insurance cards to people who could not afford medical treatment.
Addressing the 47th convocation of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSP), Sharif said that this was his first public appearance as chief minister. It showed that he was committed to health care and health education in the province, he said.
Those who could not afford to pay for it would be given free medical treatment under the health insurance scheme. “This is a very tough task but it is possible,” he said. There were many problems with the health sector, he said.
Hospitals were not audited by independent experts and sanitation in hospitals remained an issue. “The Punjab government is already the best employer for doctors. We want to further improve the doctors’ salary packages, but then the performance should match the salaries,” said Sharif.
He congratulated the physicians and surgeons who had completed their fellowships. “Our doctors have set an example in tackling dengue fever,” he said. Doctors from Sri Lanka, Thailand and Singapore had trained doctors here to cope with the situation but Pakistani doctors had dealt with the issue in an exemplary way, he said.
However, there were questions as to why 141 children in the province had lost their lives to measles. “We need to plug the loopholes and bridge the gaps to be able to provide the best medical facilities to the people,” he said.
Sharif said the government would support the CPSP in carrying out trainings and paying stipends to its trainees.
As many as 423 doctors were awarded FCPS and 64 MCPS diplomas at the convocation.
CPSP president Zafarullah Chaudhary said 90 per cent of the specialists in the country and all the specialists in the armed forces had been trained by CPSP. He said the government should upgrade its DHQ hospitals. He said CPSP could help in this regard. He said CPSP representatives should be made part of the advisory body in matters of health policy.
“The CPSP is among the top seven medical institutes in the world. It holds uniform structured training programmes in the country and abroad. The fellows of the college are highly paid abroad and have employment offers from many countries,” said Dr Rana Sohail, a fellow who had completed his specialisation in general surgery.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2013.
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