ISLAMABAD: The Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS), Regulations and Coordination (NHSR&C) directed the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) to ensure ample supply of Paracetamol and snake anti-venom throughout the country, especially in the flood-hit areas, and further directed for penal action against all those involved in hoarding or discontinuing production of Paracetamol.
The Standing Committee meeting, chaired by Dr Muhammad Afzal Khan Dhandla, MNA, at the Parliament House on Thursday, also directed the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) for conducting the MDCAT tests on a single day throughout the country. The committee also expressed annoyance at the consecutive absence of federal health minister and health secretary from its meetings.
The Chief Executive Officer of DRAP Asim Rauf briefed the committee about the issue of Paracetamol and other medicines, saying the pharmaceutical sector was demanding an increase in the price of Paracetamol. However, its request had not been approved by the federal cabinet. He said that punitive action had been initiated against those involved in the under-production and hoarding of medicines.
The Special Secretary Health, Mirza Nasiruddin Mashood, told the committee that they were keeping an eye on the smooth supply of medicines, especially in flooded areas, and the government had already got an ample supply of Paracetamol in relief from foreign governments.
The committee decided to discuss The Pakistan Nursing Council (Emergency Management), Bill, 2022 (Ordinance XXIX of 2021) (Government Bill) and The ICT Tuberculosis (Notification) Bill, 2022 in its next meeting and also decided to further discuss the issues related to DRAP in presence of the federal health minister.
The committee expressed disappointment over the performance of Pakistan Nursing Council, terming it a failure to bring the nursing sector at par with international standards.
The committee was of the view that substandard clinical training, obsolete curriculum and lack of quality training institutions were the main reasons, and directed the ministry to further consider legislative proposal to address all the issues pointed out by the committee.
Members of the committee maintained that the proliferation of private institutions and lack of monitoring by PNC had deteriorated the standard of trained human resource and asked for a comprehensive briefing on the syllabus of all programs and fee structure for all these programs.
The Registrar PNC apprised the standing Committee about the performance of the nursing regulator and informed that 60% out of 339 institutes imparting training in the sector were private institutes. She said that 17,485 nurses and paramedics have been enrolled with PNC till-date.
The special secretary Health stated that the PNC was facing an infighting in its ranks, which had resulted in production of substandard human resource, adding that nursing and paramedics sector has huge potential in local as well as in foreign countries. If a standardised human resource was produced, it could earn substantial foreign exchange.
In his briefing, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority (IHRA) Dr Quaid Saeed said that IHRA had been mandated to regulate the healthcare sector within the jurisdiction of the Islamabad Capital Territory. The authority keeps a check on the provision of the best healthcare facilities in all sectors and added that IHRA had embarked upon a plan to impart training in laboratory services and dentistry.
Dr Quaid Saeed maintained that IHRA had digitalised its processes for issuance of registration of such facilities to handle online complaints. The IHRA CEO complained about the dichotomy in health services since healthcare facilities in the public sector were being provided by both CDA and ICT and stressed bringing entire healthcare facilities under the umbrella of the Ministry of National Health Services.
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