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August 30, 2018

17 taluka HQ hospitals to be upgraded to district level by year’s end


August 30, 2018

Sindh’s chief minister has directed the health department to upgrade 17 taluka headquarter hospitals to district headquarter hospitals by the end of December and to provide hard area allowance to doctors serving in remote areas of the province.

Syed Murad Ali Shah issued these orders on Wednesday during a meeting at the CM House, where he reviewed the issues and the performance of the province’s health department.

Shah claimed he has achieved some positive results from the health emergency he had declared during his last tenure. “We have to continue our efforts in a more energetic and effective way to improve the health services, the medical education system and the capacity-building of doctors.”

Health Secretary Dr Usman Chachar informed the chief executive that the sanctioned strength of doctors and paramedical staff in the health department is 67,876. He also gave a breakdown of the vacant posts.

He said 2,929 doctors of general cadres need to be hired, 1,295 lady health workers, 1,214 paramedics, 492 specialist cadre doctors, 210 nurses, 129 dentists and 10 pharmacists, with nine drug administration vacancies. The CM ordered filling the vacant positions so the under-construction health facilities could be made functional.

Shah was informed that under his special initiatives 17 taluka headquarter hospitals are being upgraded to the level of district headquarter hospitals in Tando Mohammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Jamshoro, Khairpur, Badin, Shikarpur, Mithi, Thatta, Dadu, Naushehro Feroze, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Mirpur Mathelo, Matiari, Kambar-Shahdadkot, Umerkot and Kashmore.

On this the chief executive directed the health secretary to complete their construction as well as to get their schedules of new expenditure approved by the end of this year. “I want to see them functional at any cost.”

The meeting pointed out that there are 2,016 primary health facilities across Sindh: 883 dispensaries, 810 basic health units, 138 rural health centres, 89 maternal & child healthcare centres, 44 Unani Shifa Khanas, 42 maternity homes, eight urban health centres and two homeopathic dispensaries.

The chief executive was also informed that 1,032 of these health facilities are being run by the People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative, 821 by the health department and 163 with public-private partnership.

The meeting was told that out of the 109 secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities, 95 are being run by the health department and 14 with public-private partnership. On the subject of medical education, the meeting was told that the Sindh government has 75 institutes: 21 nursing schools, 16 community midwifery schools, eight colleges, seven institutes such as the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, five universities, five public health schools, four dental colleges, four paramedical institutes, two nursing colleges, two health technician schools and one physiotherapy school.

Dr Chachar said that 12 projects are under way in the health sector: the Expanded Programme on Immunisation; the Lady Health Workers Programme; the Maternal, Neonatal & Child Health Programme; the TB Control Programme; the Hepatitis Prevention & Control Programme; the Prevention & Control of Blindness Programme; the Malaria Control Programme; the Nutrition Support Programme; the Enhanced HIV/AIDS Control Programme; the Dengue Control & Prevention Programme; the Accelerated Action Plan for Reduction of Stunting & Malnutrition and the Diabetes Control Programme.

CM Shah directed the health department to provide him with weekly updates on these programmes. Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho assured him that she would be monitoring the progress of these health programmes.

When the meeting pointed out that doctors are reluctant to serve in remote areas, the chief executive directed the health department to provide them with the hard area allowance, as is the practice in Thar.

He said that after the education sector his government is giving the topmost priority to the health sector, in which Rs108.8 billion is being spent during the current financial year, adding that in the previous fiscal year the sector had an allocation of Rs100.3 billion. “Therefore, the results should be in accordance with the investment.”

The meeting was also attended by Chief Secretary Maj (retd) Azam Suleman Khan, Planning & Development Chairman Mohammad Waseem, CM’s Principal Secretary Sohail Rajput, Finance Secretary Noor Alam and other relevant officials.