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January 11, 2019

Fearing NICVD’s transfer to Centre, PA passes bill to establish Sindh’s own heart hospital


January 11, 2019

As a Supreme Court order can possibly hand three major health facilities in Karachi, including the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), over to the federal government, the Sindh Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a bill to establish the Sindh Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (SICVD).

The SICVD will not be replacing the main NICVD facility in Karachi; however, the new entity will comprise all the eight existing satellite centres of the institute in various regions of Sindh as well as the seven chest pain units functioning at different places in Karachi.

The headquarters of the proposed SICVD would be either in Karachi or Sukkur. According to the Sindh Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases Bill 2018, the new institute would comprise a 250-bed cardiac-care hospital in Sukkur as well as all the eight existing NICVD’s satellite centres in Hyderabad, Tando Muhammad Khan, Sukkur, Sehwan, Khairpur, Mithi, Larkana and Nawabshah.

In addition to the satellite centres, all the seven chest pain units of the NICVD in Karachi, situated in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Malir Halt, Gulbai, Nagan Chowrangi, Qayyumabad, II Chundrigar Road and Sindh Government Lyari General Hospital, along with the under-construction Paediatric Cardiology Institute at the main NICVD are to be included in the SICVD.

A 10-member select committee, comprising legislators from both the treasury and opposition benches, was formed by the Sindh Assembly speaker to review all the clauses of the draft bill submitted by Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho.

After detailed deliberations, the committee approved the bill and recommended that the House adopt it. The bill was tabled before the Sindh Assembly on Thursday and was unanimously approved.

According to the approved bill, the administrative affairs of the SICVD shall vest in its governing body headed by the provincial health minister. The other members of the body would include two MPAs nominated by the speaker, the health and finance secretaries, an executive director appointed by the Sindh government and four others representing the fields of medicine and cardiovascular diseases, finance and accounts, law and humanitarian work.

The SICVD executive director would be the chief executive officer of the institute and also act as the secretary of the governing body. The tenure for the office of the executive director will be four years which could be extended.

The executive director would be a professor of medicine or a person having experience of management of medical services who would be appointed by the provincial government. The Sindh government would also appoint a director for a period of four years, who would exercise the powers of the executive director in the latter’s absence.

SICVD separate from NICVD

Rebutting some electronic media reports which claimed that the Sindh Assembly had passed a bill to rename the NICVD as the SICVD, members from the treasury benches clarified that the latter would be a separate institute for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

“The need for the establishment of SICVD emerged after it was feared that the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, which is currently functioning under the provincial control after the 18th amendment, would be handed over back to the federal government through a Supreme Court of Pakistan judgment,” a member from treasury benches of the Sindh Assembly said, requesting anonymity.

According to the legislator, after getting control of the NICVD from the federal government, the Sindh government had enhanced the budget of the institute by 100 times and spent billions of rupees for the creation of satellite centres in eight districts of the province.

“Similarly, the Sindh government provided billions of rupees for ensuring that all the cardiac-care facilities at the NICVD were free of charge to the people of entire Pakistan, including primary PCIs, angiographies and angioplasties, all types of surgeries and implants as well as all the diagnostic facilities,” the MPA said.

When the Sindh government realised that despite all its funding and efforts to make the NICVD a world-class cardiac care institute, it could possibly be transferred to the federal control through a court order; it decided to retain its assets which it had established in the forms of satellite centres, chest pain units and other physical facilities, the legislator added.

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