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June 19, 2019

Sindh to regulate charges of labs, diagnostics


June 19, 2019

KARACHI: The Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) is working to regulate the cost of hospitals and clinics, while the Sindh Health Care Commission (SHCC) is initially ‘looking at the cost’ of labs and diagnostic services. The cost regulation of healthcare facilities in Sindh would be dealt with following mandatory registration and licensing process of the health facilities.

These views were expressed by the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and officials of healthcare commissions of CEO of the SHCC Dr. Minhaj Qidwai and Director Licensing of PHC Dr. Anwar Janjua at a meeting to discuss issues faced by the healthcare commissions and to streamline procedures for establishing quality healthcare services titled “Regulatory Affairs Meeting” held under the auspices of the Sindh healthcare commission on Tuesday.

The meeting was widely attended by national and international experts and top officials of the health regulatory authorities from entire Pakistan including World Health Organization (WHO), UNAIDS, Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP), councils of hakeems, homeopaths, nurses and paramedics.

Addressing the press conference, CEO of the SHCC Dr. Minhaj Qidwai, said they have given final notices to the provincial health department and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation to get their health facilities registered with the commission by the end of June or it would be very difficult for them to function as so far only one public hospital in Karachi has got it itself registered. Appreciating the work done by the SHCC, the CEO of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Care Commission Aazar Sardar said their health care commission came into existence before Sindh Health Care Commission but the SHCC is a lot ahead in performance. They described quackery as a national menace and called for zero tolerance against them to ensure patient safety and quality healthcare services.

The meeting also discussed the need to define scope of non-regulated healthcare organizations such as Sindh Medical Faculty, electro-homeopathy, Allied Council of Pakistan, complementary and alternative systems of medicines. The experts said malpractices are jeopardizing the healthcare system including qualified doctors giving their degrees on rent, doctors practicing beyond scope, government doctors working simultaneously in private hospitals, dispensers running public healthcare facilities etc. Dr. Tipu Sultan former chairperson SHCC emphasized the need to make regulatory bodies free of corruption and said they were formed as autonomous bodies and must perform functions without any interference from government and other bodies. Dr. Minhaj Qidwai, CEO SHCC, proposed the constitution of a National Regulatory Council which was agreed and appreciated by all the participants. The Director Anti-Quackery SHCC briefed about a three tier anti-quackery strategy for further harmonization and uniformity at provincial cum national level.

Dr. Maha Talaat, Regional Advisor Anti-Microbial Resistance Infection Prevention and Control WHO said the Infection Prevention Control programme needs to be incorporated in the existing scope of healthcare commissions in Pakistan. In Pakistan ten per cent patients undergoing surgeries acquire infections after surgeries, she said. Dr. Maha emphasized that without any infection prevention and control programme, AIDS, Hepatitis C and other infections may not be controlled in the country. Provision of gloves and masks are necessities but are unavailable in hospitals especially in rural areas, she said. The meeting also raised the issue of proper price control measures to regulate pricing of various healthcare services. Regulations, they said must be introduced for e-health and online pharmacies.

They also called for effective implementation of Sindh Emergency Procurement Act of 2014, Sindh regulation and control of disposable syringes Act 2010 of Sindh Act No.IV of 2011.

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