Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has asked the federal government to withdraw its notification about taking control of three health facilities of Karachi — the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) — in the larger interest of health services being provided by these institutions.
He criticised the federal government’s notification on Friday while presiding over a meeting at the CM House. He said the Centre had created uncertainty by issuing the notification.
“This decision has created a panic-like situation and uncertainty which is bound to affect the performance of these best institutes,” the CM remarked, adding that the Ministry of National Health Services was supposed to hold preparatory meetings with the provincial government to work out modalities as directed by the Supreme Court but no such meeting was held.
“I am surprised that no such intimation of taking over the health facilities have been communicated to the hospitals’ administration,” he said. The CM said the provincial government had filed a review petition with the SC and the federal government should have waited till the court had decided on the review petition.
Shah directed the advocate general Sindh to file an urgent application with the SC for the hearing of the review petition. “Our various important projects are going on in all the three health facilities and various others are in the pipeline, therefore, we also want to settle the issue so that the provincial government can move forward accordingly,” he said.
The CM claimed that the provincial government with its hard work had made the JPMC, the NICVD and the NICH as state-of-the-art institutions with huge budgetary allocations. He added that the provincial government had also established eight satellite centres of the NICVD in various districts of the province and it further wanted to establish such centres in every district of Sindh.
“We feel that the provincial government can run these institutions in the best way,” the CM said, adding that the health facilities would flourish if they remained under the Sindh government’s administrative control.”
The meeting was attended by Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho, Adviser to the CM on Information and Law Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, Finance Secretary Najam Shah, Special Health Secretary Asghar Memon, NICVD Executive Director Dr Nadeem Qamar, JPMC Executive Director Seemi Jamali, NICH Director Dr Jamal Raza, Special Health Secretary (Dev) Dr Dabeer and others.
A day earlier, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari strongly condemned the taking over of the three key hospitals by the federal government and termed it an attack on provincial autonomy.
In a statement, Bilawal said the people of Sindh had invested billions of rupees in revolutionary improvements at the JPMC, the NICVD and the NICH after the hospitals were handed over to the province under the 18th amendment.
“The expansion of NICVD hospitals to several cities of the province has excelled the performance of the Sindh government, which paid for expensive cardiac treatments of patients from all over Pakistan,” he added.