Tuesday December 07, 2021

Federal govt to run three Karachi hospitals through independent BoGs: Dr Faisal Sultan

January 14, 2021

The federal government is left with no other choice but to assume financial and administrative control of Karachi’s three major health facilities – Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH) – and Shaikh Zayed Postgraduate Medical Institute in Lahore and run them through independent boards of governors as per the Federal Medical Teaching Institutes Ordinance 2020, federal health authorities told The News on Wednesday.

“As per the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s directives, we have no other choice left but to assume control of Karachi’s three major health facilities and one in Lahore. No time frame can be given in this regard but we have already allocated funds to run them in the current budget and we are going to run them by forming independent board of governors comprising experts from different fields,” Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan told The News on Wednesday.

The Federal Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination also issued a notification recently under which the four health facilities, three of Karachi and one of Lahore, were added to the Schedule of Federal Medical Teaching Institutes Ordinance, 2020.

The Sindh government strongly rejected the fresh effort of hospitals’ acquisition by the federal authorities and its spokesman Barrister Murtaza Wahab ruled out the possibility to hand over the control of the JPMC, NICVD and NICH to the Centre.

“These hospitals, including the NICVD and other two facilities, do not belong to anyone. These three hospitals have treated patients from all over Pakistan and have served the public for free with transparency. These three hospitals will remain with us,” Wahab told newsmen during a briefing when he was asked to comment on the issuance of a new federal notification regarding Karachi’s three major health facilities.

Commenting on the issuance of the notification, Dr Sultan insisted that there was ‘no politics’ behind the fresh move by the federal government and reiterated that the federal authorities had no intention to disobey the court orders and face contempt charges.

“As you very well know that those were the employees of these institutions who had approached court, not us. The Supreme Court ordered in their favour and now it is our obligation to follow these orders,” he added.

To a query, Dr Sultan said that earlier they had no mechanism to run these health facilities as they did not want to govern them through some deputy secretary in Islamabad, but now after the promulgation of the Federal Medical Teaching Institutes Ordinance 2020, they had a tool available to make efficient health facilities for the betterment of people of Karachi and Sindh.

A search and nomination council would soon be formed to identify suitable members for the boards of governors of these health facilities, he said, adding that the council would select the most suitable people, especially experts from the fields of medical science, management and finance to run these excellent health facilities.

“Most probably, members of boards of governors for these health facilities would be from Karachi and we would have no objection on the name of any competent person. There is a laid down criteria in the ordinance to select the head of institutions by these boards of governors,” he explained.

Responding to another question, Dr Sultan said that hospitals could only be run efficiently and effectively if they were given financial and administrative autonomies and he would ensure that not only adequate budget was provided to these health facilities in the budgets but they were also given administrative and financial liberties to spend these funds for effective service delivery and the well-being of patients.