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‘People of Sindh will never acceptCentre’s control over Karachi hospitals’

Karachi

May 27, 2019

Peoples Youth Organisation (PYO) Sindh General Secretary Shoaib Mirza has said that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is committed to protecting public institutions at any cost.

He stated this while expressing his views on the federal government taking control of three major public hospitals in Karachi. The meeting on the issue was held at the PYO Secretariat on Sunday and attended by a large number of workers.

Expressing his anger and displeasure, Mirza said that under the 18th constitutional amendment, control of health care facilities must be devolved to the provinces in letter and spirit. He said the PPP government had worked hard day and night to establish these hospitals in the past decade, warning that the people of Sindh will never accept this “unnecessary” decision.

PYO Spokesperson Taimoor Ali Maher also termed the decision by the federal government an attack on provincial autonomy. “The PYO believes that the hospitals must be under the administrative control of the Sindh government,” he said, and demanded declaring the issued notification null and void.

He also urged launching massive demonstrations across the province. “The decision would lead to the total collapse of the entire health care set-up, and promote politics of tussle between the federal and provincial governments.”

Black day

Sindh’s young doctors have rejected the federal government’s notification regarding the restoration of federal status of Karachi’s three major hospitals — the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) — and announced they would observe a black day at all public hospitals in the province on Monday.

Young doctors said the federal government was facing an acute shortage of resources and even their own officials were puzzled how they would allocate financial and material resources to run these hospitals effectively, adding that this move by the PTI-led federal government would adversely affect service delivery at these hospitals and increase the sufferings of patients.

“The Young Doctors Association (YDA) Sindh strongly condemns the notification by the federal government regarding the restoration of the federal status of the JPMC, NICVD and NICH, and terms it an anti-health care and anti-patient move.

“We believe that this move by the PTI-led federal government will result in poor service delivery at these hospitals, and it will also cause poor patients suffering in Sindh,” Chairman YDA Sindh Dr Umer Sultan said while talking to The News on Saturday.

Citing the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s directives and approval from the federal cabinet, the Federal Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, through a notification on May 22, had announced assuming control of Sindh’s three major hospitals with their components, assets and manpower, which drew strong criticism from the PPP.

The chairman of the YDA Sindh maintained that after the devolution, the provincial government had made huge investments in expanding the networks of these three hospitals and transformed them into strong health care networks that were now serving millions of people not only from Sindh but also from other provinces, adding that if these hospitals were taken over by the federal government, they would ruin them just like hospitals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

“The NICVD had just a few hundred beds and patients used to pay for every service when it was under federal control, but now it is a network of nine hospitals spread across Sindh and has one of the best chest pain programmes that is saving thousands of lives annually. We believe that if this system is taken over by the federal government, their incompetence would ruin the health network,” Sultan claimed.

He said that similarly, the JPMC now had the second CyberKnife robotic system, it had acquired the PET scan facility and improved health care facilities, adding that the NICH had also expanded its services to Mithi, where paediatricians were saving dozens of lives of children — and all this happened only after devolution.

Condemning the federal government’s notification without waiting for the review petition before the Supreme Court, Sultan said they were going to observe a black day, and vowed to continue protest until the move was reversed by the federal authorities.

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