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August 16, 2018

PTI plans to implement MTI Act across country


August 16, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has planned to implement the Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms Act 2015 in the rest of the country, particularly in Punjab, after having introduced it in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2015.

It also plans to introduce changes to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) and give the country its national health policy.

PTI chairman Imran Khan, who is prime minister-in-waiting, has decided to utilise the services of his cousin Dr Nausherwan Burki, the US-based senior pulmonologist.

Dr Nausherwan Burki was the architect of MTI Act 2015 under which health reforms were implemented in KP.

Dr Burki and the PTI-led coalition government in KP had faced a lot of resistance from certain doctors associations and other health workers in implementation of the health reforms.

The implantation process was delayed for quite a long time due to litigation and opposition by certain associations of the doctors.

Though PTI leadership is always taking the credit for improving health services in KP, the reforms are yet to be implemented in letter and spirit.

This time the PTI leadership wanted Dr Burki to focus on other important issues related to health and medical education in the centre and other provinces.

However, Dr Burki is keen to come to KP soon after Imran Khan takes oath as prime minister so that he can resume his incomplete work. He was removed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who had ordered constitution of new Boards of Governors (BoGs) to look after administrative and financial affairs of the medical and teaching institutions.

The PTI leadership has formed a task force and engaged Dr Burki to handle issues related to public health and medical teaching in the country.

The first project Dr Burki is planning after installation of the PTI government in KP is to select new BoGs and replace the interim boards.

He wanted to again chair the BoG at the Lady Reading Hospital, but this time he doesn’t want to waste much of his time in LRH alone.

“I wanted to complete all my pending projects in LRH as soon as possible and present LRH as a model to rest of Pakistan as we are going to implement similar health reforms in Punjab and elsewhere in the country,” Dr Nausherwan Burki told The News.

Previously, most of the hospitals’ board members were inducted in BoGs on the basis of their close relations with PTI parliamentarians. Some of them were based abroad and couldn’t contribute to the system accordingly.

Shahram Khan Tarakai has reportedly started efforts to get the prized portfolio of health again and as usual he is expected to influence the nomination process of selecting members of the boards for hospitals.

A search and nomination council, chaired by health minister, is required to recommend distinguished people to the chief minister and approve some of them as members of the BoGs for different MTIs.

In the previous boards, some of the members were known for their suspicious activities and influencing the hospital authorities in recruitment and procurement and they may not get space in the new set up.

“It’s true that performance of some of the people was not good and same people would not be inducted in the new boards,” said Dr Burki.

Among all the BoGs, the performance of Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) board was ranked the best.

Former senior bureaucrat Sahibzada Saeed chaired the HMC BoG. Besides renovating the whole hospital, the board started new specialties and procured equipment worth millions of rupees.

Dr Burki is aware that some members of the interim boards had done far better than the previous regular BoGs and he will prefer that they are accommodated in the new setup.

Another major issue which would require Dr Burki’s attention is disparity in rules and regulations of MTIs.

Every MTI has different rules and regulations, and in some places they framed rules and regulations to better serve their interests.

Dr Burki said he would sort out this major flaw in the first meeting of chairmen of all the boards.

Another important project that desperately needs Dr Burki’s attention is the long-delayed Peshawar Institute of Cardiology (PIC).

The foundation stone for PIC was laid way back in 2005. Since then, it has been progressing at a snail’s pace.

The project director for the PIC up to 2015 was cardiologist Dr Mohammad Hafizullah.

The PTI government formed a BoG for PIC in 2017 with Dr Nausherwan Burki as chairman.

However, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar in a surprise decision dissolved all boards for other MTIs, including PIC in the suo moto action on an application received by the court’s Human Rights Cell.

Dr Hafizullah is now chairman of the interim board of PIC and there were expectations that this time he would prove his critics wrong by making PIC a state-of-the-art cardiac centre.

Dr Burki, 72, is the first cousin of Imran Khan and his contribution to the health sector earned him respect and appreciation.

When the PTI government introduced health reforms in KP, some vested interest elements launched a malicious propaganda campaign against him.

Some alleged he was selling the hospitals to private firms, others accused him of lavishly wasting the LRH funds on his travelling and staying in a five-star hotel.

Others blamed him for getting high salary from the KP government in return for his services. But very few people knew that in three years he did not charge LRH a single penny for his work.

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