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February 9, 2018

PHC, Unicef agree to improve child healthcare


February 9, 2018

LAHORE: The Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) and Unicef will work together to improve the quality of maternal, neonatal and child healthcare in the province, which was agreed at a meeting held at the PHC office here on Thursday.

According to a press release issued here, the Unicef delegation was led by Chief Health, UNICEF Pakistan, Dr Kennedy Ongwae, while Chief Operating Officer Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan, headed the commission’s senior management. Dr Ongwae mentioned that according to the Unicef’s new Country Programme (2018-2022), one of the most important areas of work in healthcare delivery is ‘quality of care’ and adherence to required quality standards. He added that the Unicef was approaching experts in quality care, organisations and authorities working in this field to ensure that infants ‘survive and thrive’ in Pakistan.

Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan briefed the delegation about the PHC and the various aspects of its mandate. He said the commission was the first autonomous statutory regulatory body in the Saarc region working to continuously improve the quality of healthcare services and regulate both public and private sectors. He enlisted various steps the commission had taken to improve the quality of healthcare service delivery across a broad spectrum of healthcare establishments, ranging from large, multi-specialty hospitals to homeopathic clinics, basic health units, clinics of general practitioners, etc. He added that the PHC was in the process of developing MSDS for sub-specialties of various fields, and was also working on defining Minimum Service Delivery Standards (MSDS) for the midwifery centres, maternal and child health centres and family welfare centres, for which it had conducted a number of consultative workshops to solicit expert opinion and the feedback of various stakeholders.

Speaking about the PHC’s other regulatory initiatives, he stated that the Commission had trained more than 11,000 healthcare establishments to implement MSDS and improve the quality of services. “Simultaneously, the registration and licensing of healthcare establishments is also going on. So far, around 40,000 healthcare service providers have registered with the commission and over 25,000 establishments have been provisionally licensed,” he said, adding that in fulfilling other aspects of its mandate, the PHC had sealed more than 7,000 fake treatment centres of quacks and was continuously carrying out operations across the province to combat quackery in all its forms and manifestations.

Members of the Unicef delegation appreciated the commission’s efforts towards improving the quality of healthcare services in Punjab and agreed to collaborate to improve the quality of healthcare service delivery at the MCH centres, family welfare centres, Basic Health Units, etc., to develop centres of excellence, specifically in areas where the coverage of these services is low.

The Unicef delegation was comprised of MNCH Specialist Dr Samia Rizwan, Health Specialist Dr Rana Mushtaq Hussain, MNCH & HIV Officer Dr Naila Shahid, Immunisation Officer Dr Qurrat-ul-Ain and Health Officer Dr Saira Khan. The PHC senior management included Director Complaints Prof Dr Riaz Tasneem, Director Licensing and Accreditation Dr Muhammad Anwar Janjua, Additional Director Quality Assurance Dr Qamar Salman and Additional Director Clinical Governance Dr Anees Qureshi.

Mega health projects: Punjab Minister for Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education (SH&ME) Kh Salman Rafique has said construction/completion of health sector’s development projects is being carried out on fast track due to which significant improvement has been recorded in health facilities.

He added that completion of different mega projects in Multan at a cost of Rs5.5 billion and the inauguration by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has added a lot of modern facilities to the system and the people of Multan and southern Punjab would not bother to go to Lahore for their treatment. According to a handout issued here on Thursday, the minister in a statement said that apart from spending billions of rupees on revamping of DHQ/THQ hospitals and provision of CT scan machines at district level, as well as setting up of ICU’s in the DHQ hospitals, a number of mega projects have also been completed in Multan. He said 150 beds have been added to Children Hospital Multan at a cost of Rs 1929, similarly 150-bedded Multan Institute of Kidney Diseases (MIKD) has been completed at a cost of Rs 1,444 million moreover burn unit of international standard has been functionalized at a cost of Rs 878 million, and Rs 411 million has been spent on government Shahbaz Sharif DHQ Hospital and Rs 323 million have been spent on the construction of Regional Blood Centre (RBC).

Kh Salman Rafique was of the view that construction of mega projects in Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalnagar and other cities continued and the chief minister is personally monitoring the health sector development projects and taking keen interest in the completion of these projects. The minister said he himself and Secretary Najam Ahmad Shah also visited Rawalpindi Division to review the pace of work on the ongoing projects.

Kh Salman Rafique said the officers concerned and the contractor was reprimanded on slow pace of work on Rawalpindi Institute of Urology and Kidney Diseases (RIKD) and clear directions have been issued for accelerating the construction work on the project. The minister said surgical tower of Mayo Hospital has also been completed and a few days back operations and procedures have been started.

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