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September 30, 2016

KP govt finally decides to discontinue PPHI


September 30, 2016

Programme was operating in 576 BHUs in 17 districts

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has finally decided to cease the People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI) from today after a known non-governmental organisation working for poverty alleviation in the province and Fata, the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP), refused to carry on the work.

The provincial government said it has nothing to do with PPHI, arguing the government had signed an agreement with SRSP to work together for poverty alleviation in the province and PPHI later started working under SRSP as its sub-contractor.

An official of the SRSP told The News that its Board of Directors had made the
decision not to continue its working agreement with the PPHI.“There are several reasons why SRSP decided not to work with it. Some of the issues were related to rules and regulations, funding and proper monitoring of the organisation, and to avoid these complications, the Board of Directors decided to cancel its agreement with PPHI,” he added.

Also, he said that due to a number of new legislations done in the province, the SRSP was not comfortable to continue its agreement with PPHI due to legal and administrative issues.According to him, the SRSP was voluntarily providing its services to PPHI to strengthen basic health services in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The PPHI had been using SRSP system from 2007 to 2008 for its operations in the province.The SRSP, he said, was working for the past six months to resolve its issues with PPHI but it didn’t find tangible solution and eventually decided to discontinue the agreement with it.

A senior official of the provincial Health Department also confirmed closure of the PPHI, though he added that the government had no role either in its initiation or closure.“Though some people blame the government for its closure, it has nothing to do with the PPHI. The government had signed agreement with the SRSP for poverty alleviation and the SRSP later extended its services to PPHI. Now when the SRSP doesn’t want to work with PPHI, it cannot be forced to continue,” the Health Department official said.

He said the SRSP had ended its accord with the PPHI in June last but it was convinced to continue and it therefore extended its agreement with it.PPHI Programme Director Shakeel Ahmad also confirmed closure of the programme. He said “PPHI without SRSP is nothing.”

He said the PPHI was operating in 576 basic health units (BHUs) in 17 districts of the province.According to Shakeel Ahmad, they had employed 475 doctors and 212 support staff for their operations.

He said the PPHI’s closure would not affect the doctors as the government had already employed them for providing services in rural and underdeveloped areas of the province.The PPHI became controversial when reports surfaced that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf secretary general Jehangir Tareen owned the organisation.

People close to Jehangir Tareen, however, denied these reports. They claimed that initially he had launched the organisation but is no more associated with it. The programme was launched during General Pervez Musharraf’s rule when Jehangir Tareen was member of his cabinet. The same PPHI issue created differences between Jehangir Tareen and former health minister Shaukat Yousafzai and the then chief secretary Shehzad Arbab.

Senior government officials said the issue of extension of the PPHI embroiled Jehangir Tareen, Chief Secretary Shehzad Arbab, Health Minister Shaukat Yousafzai and even Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and caused bitterness. Subsequently, Shaukat Yousafzai lost his berth in the cabinet and Shehzad Arbab was replaced as chief secretary. Secretary Health Ghulam Qadir too was replaced.



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