KP’s health budget up by Rs22 billion

June 19, 2021

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday announced a record increase of Rs22 billion in the health sector budget for the financial year of 2021-22. The government has extended the Sehat...

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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday announced a record increase of Rs22 billion in the health sector budget for the financial year of 2021-22. The government has extended the Sehat Card Plus programme to the entire province to provide free healthcare services to the people. An increase of Rs22 billion was announced in the health budget. The annual development programme of health for the settled districts is Rs16 billion for 2021-22. For the year 2021-22, the health budget is estimated Rs146 billion which was Rs124 billion last year.

Taimur Saleem Jhagra, who is holding the portfolios of health and finance, presented a historic budget of Rs1 trillion for 2021-22 in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday.

The government had doubled the budget for medicines in the public sector hospitals of the province.

Also, the government allocated a huge amount of Rs40 billion as a potential investment for establishing four state-of-the-art tertiary care hospitals in the province through a greenfield public-private partnership project to improve health services.

Taimur Saleem Jhagra told The News that the government had planned to establish four new hospitals in strategic locations so people of the province can have access to quality services.

He said the new hospitals were likely to be built on Ring Peshawar in Peshawar, Lakki Marwat district that would cover the southern parts of the province and Mansehra or Haripur for the people of Hazara Division.

Taimur Jhagra said the fourth hospital was likely to be established somewhere in the Malakand district so people of the Malakand Division can have easy access to quality services.

The government would encourage investors to invest in the tertiary care hospitals as the KP government would provide them land free of charge.

"There are different models and we would discuss which model suits us as our aim is providing quality of services to our people," the health minister pledged.

With these hospitals, he hoped, people of the entire province would have access to standard health services.

Keeping in view of the existing infrastructure in the health sector in almost each and every corner of the province, Taimur Jhagra said that Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had decided not to include any new project in the new budget related to the health sector. "There was a lot of pressure from the public representatives on the government as most of them wanted new buildings and health facilities in their respective constituencies, but the chief minister took a principled stance and said that they would not waste resources by raising new buildings. Our aim is to revamp and refurbish the existing infrastructure and provide better services to our people," Taimur Jhagra said.

According to Taimur Jhagra, they had allocated Rs14.9 billion for revamping and refurbishing 25 district headquarters hospitals (DHQs) in two years in the settled districts and seven of newly merged districts.

All these hospitals would be renamed and refurbished in phases.

In the first phase, the DHQ hospitals of Abbottabad, Charsadda, Haripur, Karak, Maulvi Jee Hospital Peshawar, and Naseerullah Babar Hospital would be revamped.

The hospitals in Timergara, Kohat, Upper Dir, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Nowshera, and Swabi would be revamped in the second phase.

According to Taimur Jhagra, besides revamping the DHQs, the government allocated Rs1.7 billion for strengthening all the basic health units (BHUs) of the province and selected 200 BHUs for conversion in 24/7 services.

For the medical and teaching institutions, including the three hospitals in Peshawar and one each in Mardan, Nowshera, Abbottabad, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan, the government has earmarked Rs25 billion.

Apart from this huge amount, Rs10.5 billion is earmarked for the allied hospitals and Rs7 billion for the medical colleges of the province.

Besides extending the Sehat Card Plus programme to the whole of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and earmarked Rs21 billion for up-gradation and inclusion of more services in the Sehat Card Plus programme.

The government included liver transplant in the Sehat Card Plus programme and allocated Rs1 billion to cover expenses up to Rs50 million per patient. The government has also included OPD services in the Sehat Card programme and approved a list of medicines.

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