The government has constituted a national health task force in order to improve coordination between the federal and provincial health departments. An official notification about the task force’s formation has been issued earlier.
Saira Afzal Tarar, the Minister of State for the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, told The Express Tribune on Tuesday that the task force will consist of the four provincial health secretaries, nominated political representatives from each province, two representatives each from Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad and Jammu Kashmir, one from Islamabad Capital Territory and several health experts.
The task force will be headed by the minister of state for the ministry of national health, regulations and coordination.
Talking about the responsibilities of the task force, she added that it will look after health schemes for polio, measles, the expanded programme on immunisation, and maternal, neonatal and child health programme, among others.
One of the reasons for forming the task force is to clear reservations of international donors who had expressed concerns on the devolution of the federal health ministry under the 18th Amendment.
Speaking to The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity, a senior ministry official added that several health schemes and initiatives had suffered because of the devolution of the health ministry. The official added that lack of contingency plans for the continued operation of these schemes prior to the devolution created unnecessary confusion among the stakeholders and consequently, the brunt of the suffering had to be borne by the poor public.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2013.