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August 22, 2018

Minister orders emergency audit of health programmes


August 22, 2018

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s commitment to ruthless accountability was reflected in the Ministry of National Health Services here Tuesday, where Health Minister Amir Mehmood Kiani ordered an emergency audit of health spending on national programmes and departments, tasking the departmental leads to present details of all expenditures, right after Eid holidays.

Ordering the audit on his first day in office, Kiani sought comprehensive details of expenditure from 25 departments and national health programmes — be it the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), which has remained notorious for reasons that the new Minister may like to order an impartial investigation into, or the Expanded Programme on Immunization, the Lady Health Workers’ Programme, as well as the Hepatitis, AIDS, Malaria, and Tobacco Control programmes, among others.

“Zero leniency will be allowed in conducting the audit,” Kiani forewarned. Programme managers and heads of departments have been ordered to personally present all details on Friday.

It is common knowledge that despite liberal funding, many health programmes have failed to produce the desired outcomes. Pakistan still is amongst the last few countries to eradicate polio and is widely blamed for thwarting worldwide efforts aimed at eradicating the disease. At a time when even a single case of polio is a case too many, governments of the past have been in a celebratory mode over declining number of cases, little realizing that given the amount of funding pumped into the polio programme, Pakistanhe comity of countries that have achieved the eradication goal.

Barring a few health programmes, stories of mismanagement are a key feature of these programmes. The audit is expected to streamline spending for larger public benefit.

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