Both public and charitable institutions to benefit from 32pc increase in health budget

By M. Waqar Bhatti
June 16, 2024
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah presents the budget for the next financial year, 2024-25 on the floor of the assembly on June 14, 2024. — Facebook/Sindh Chief Minister House

The Sindh government has announced a substantial 32 per cent increase in the health budget for the fiscal year 2024-25, allocating Rs300 billion for health in the provincial budget compared to Rs227.8 billion of the outgoing year.

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Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah revealed this increase in the health budget during his budget speech in the Sindh Assembly on Friday.

The provincial government has also enhanced grants for several major health facilities, including those belonging to the public sector as well as charitable institutions like the Indus Hospital and Health Network (IHHN).

The National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) will see its funding increased from over Rs7 billion of the outgoing year to Rs9 billion for 2024-25. Other significant allocations include Rs11.4 billion for Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Rs2.37 billion for the National Institute of Child Health, and Rs3.11 billion for the Sindh Institute of Child Health and Neonatology (SICHN).

The Sindh Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation will receive Rs3.5 billion, while Shah Jeelani Institute of Medical Sciences in Gambat has been allocated Rs16.73 billion, including a one-time grant of Rs4.723 billion for establishing a cellular and gene therapy centre for cancer treatment.

Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Trauma Centre in Karachi will receive Rs3.5 billion according to the proposed provincial budget.

Additionally, the government has allocated Rs115.211 billion for various institutes, trusts and non-governmental organisations. The grant-in-aid for the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation has been increased from Rs15 billion of the outgoing year to Rs18 billion.

Other significant allocations include Rs10 billion for the IHHN, Rs300 million for the Kidney Centre and Rs14.513 billion for the People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative.

Syed Abdullah Shah Institute of Medical Science in Sehwan Sharif is set to receive Rs2.539 billion, and the Women and Child Care Trust in Shikarpur will receive Rs450 million. The Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centres in Sindh will get Rs200 million, according to the budget document.

For specialised medical services, the budget proposes Rs400 million each for the Institute of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences in Hyderabad and the Shahdadpur Institute of Medical Science, Rs400 million for medicines for blood cancer patients in Sindh, and Rs365 million for the Sindh Health Care Commission in Karachi.

Additionally, Rs606.3 million has been allocated for 13 institutes and NGOs for free treatment of thalassaemia, and Rs245 million for 12 institutes and NGOs offering free dialysis treatment.

The government has also earmarked Rs11.170 billion, after an increase of 6 per cent from the previous year, for nine vertical programmes, including the Expanded Programme on Immunisation that has been allocated Rs4.292 billion, Malaria Control Programme that has been allocated Rs416.711 million, Maternal Neonatal and Child Health Programme that has been allocated Rs301.124 million, Prevention and Control of Hepatitis with the allocation of Rs2.859 billion, Prevention and Control of Blindness with the allocation of Rs9.082 billion, Dengue Control Programme that has been allocated Rs75.077 million, Sindh AIDS Control Programme with the allocation of Rs368.384 million, Sindh Lady Health Workers Programme that has been allocated Rs1.979 billion, and Tuberculosis Control Programme with the allocation of Rs868.963 million.

During his budget speech, the CM claimed that the tertiary healthcare system in the province was exemplary, stating that public sector hospitals in Sindh were serving patients from all over the country without discrimination.

He mentioned that the Sindh government's free ambulance service initiated in 2017 had expanded into the Sindh Integrated Emergency & Health Services (SIEHS) with a fleet of 315 state-of-the-art ambulances.

He also noted that the combined budget for the JPMC, NICVD, and NICH had increased to Rs25.75 billion from Rs1.9 billion when the three institutes had not been devolved to the province, benefitting around 3.5 million patients in the outgoing year through free services.

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