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Pakistan

May 27, 2019

Exclusive: Sindh halts transfer of three hospitals to center till decision of review petition

Pakistan

Mon, May 27, 2019

Karachi: Sindh government has decided to halt transfer of three key Karachi hospitals including National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH) to the federal government until Supreme Court of Pakistan decides a review petition filed by the provincial government and asked the Senator Raza Rabani to file an immediate application before the apex court for the urgent hearing of the matter.

“Sindh government has already filed a review petition before the Supreme Court of Pakistan and it has asked Senator Raza Rabbani to immediately file an application for the urgent hearing of the petition. Till then, it has been decided to halt the transfer of JPMC, NICVD and NICH to the federal control”, an official of the Sindh government told The News on Monday.

The Federal Minister of National Health Services, Regulation and Control through a notification issued on May 22, 2019, had announced to assume control of Sindh’s three major hospitals including JPMC, NICVD and NICH as well as all their components, assets and manpower which drew strong criticism from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Sindh government.

Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has also criticized the federal government for ‘snatching’ three major hospitals from the Sindh government, saying provincial government had spent billions of rupees since devolution of power to upgrade health services at these hospitals and spread their network and services to entire Sindh, vowing that people of Sindh would not let center to ruin these health facilities by assuming their control.

Officials in the Sindh government said both the PPP leadership as well as provincial government was highly perturbed over a notification issued by the federal health ministry regarding assuming control of three hospitals and it was decided in principle that transfer of these facilities would be delayed till Supreme Court of Pakistan hears a review petition filed by the provincial government.

“Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah is also flying to Islamabad by the end of this week and during his visit, he would take up this matter with the Federal Advisor Health Dr. Zafar Mirza and other officials in the center”, the provincial government official said and added that PPP led provincial government has decided to mobilize all the resources at its disposal to retain control of the three tertiary-care health facilities.

It is also learnt that Sindh Chief Secretary has also prepared a letter to the federal government, including the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Control on the subject and through the letter, federal authorities would be intimated to wait till the decision of Supreme Court of Pakistan’s decision on a review petition filed by the Sindh government.

On the other hand, rejecting federal government’s notification regarding assuming control of NICVD, JPMC and NICH, Sindh’s young doctor’s on Monday observed ‘black-day’ at all the tertiary-care health facilities in the province by wearing black armbands and vowed to continue protest till federal government withdraws its notification without any delay.

Young doctors said federal government was facing an acute shortage of resources and even their own officials were puzzled as to how they would allocate financial and material resources to run these hospitals effectively and added that this move by the PTI-led federal government would adversely affect service delivery at these hospitals and increase sufferings of patients in the province.

“Young Doctors Association (YDA) Sindh strongly condemns a notification by the federal government regarding restoration of federal status of JPMC, NICVD and NICH and terms it as an anti-health and anti-patient move. We believe that this move by the PTI-led federal government would result in poor service delivery at these hospitals and cause sufferings to the poor patients of the Sindh province”, said Dr. Mehboob Ali Nonari, General Secretary of the YDA Sindh while talking to The News on Saturday.

Young doctors warn that they were ready for a long struggle to prevent these major hospitals from going into federal control, saying Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government had already failed to run tertiary-care hospitals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab and now it was planning to privatize these facilities and added that PTI would not be allowed to deprive people of Sindh of quality health facilities.

“These hospitals including JPMC, NICH and NICVD are providing quality healthcare services to the people of Sindh as well as other provinces free of charge while in KP and Punjab, PTI led governments are planning to privatize the health facilities. We would not let them do that in Sindh”, YDA Sindh General Secretary announced.