With a staggering 63 per cent increase in the budget outlay for medical and health services for the next fiscal year, 2013-2014, as opposed to the outgoing fiscal year, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) has allocated an amount of Rs4.63 billion to the sector.
Nearly 13 per cent of the total development budget has been apportioned to health services this time.
In 2012-2013, according to revised budget estimates, a sum of Rs2.84 billion was allocated to the sector.
On the development front, Rs383.40 million was set aside with complete focus on ongoing development projects as not a single new development scheme was introduced.
Around 27 per cent and 13 per cent of the total development budget were reserved for renovation of the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and the Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases, respectively. Other significant ongoing projects include a 50-bed hospital in Baldia Town’s Dawood Goth, the addition of cardiac emergency centre at the KMC’s hospital in Shah Faisal town, the construction of two 36-bed maternity homes each at Sohrab Goth and Pathan Colony.
The metropolitan corporation also intends to purchase medical and electrical equipment for its major hospitals and carry out repairs and renovation of its dispensaries, hospitals and the MCH centres across Karachi.
Yet, minimal progress seems to have been made on the number of ongoing projects announced last year. In the outgoing fiscal year, the KMC had allocated Rs380 million for development, primarily for installing and upgrading medical facilities in the underprivileged areas.
The KMC officials, however, defended the progress on these projects, saying that delays were caused because of the partial release of funds. It appears correct as the entity had only received around Rs167 million out of its total development budget.
In total, the KMC runs 16 hospitals, besides managing around 175 health institutions, maternity homes and dispensaries.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2013.
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