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ANP govt’s health plans yet to take off

May 20, 2013

PESHAWAR, May 19: Delay in the launch of major programmes approved by the previous provincial government has been affecting the patients suffering from kidney and heart diseases and cancer, officials said.

They said that despite allocation of the desired amount of funds, these programmes couldn’t be started due to the complex bureaucratic system.

“Except few ones, all the main programmes have yet to take off and the delay is due to authorities’ inability to purchase drugs and equipments, and ensure other medical and surgical supplies despite having the money,” the officials said.

They said that the province had its 3-4 per cent population infected with the hepatitis B or C and many of the patients could not bear the cost of expensive treatment.

The hepatitis control programme, which sought to provide free treatment to all the patients suffering from the disease in the province, came to a standstill when the Peshawar High Court ordered arrest of DG health along with others for purchase of substandard drugs and misapplication.

The programme to offer free treatment to cancer patients at three centres in the province didn’t start despite allocation of Rs500 million by the previous government, the officials said. According to them, the amount was going to be lapsed and there is no surety that the next government will go with it.

“May be the coming government comes with its own agenda and set aside these programmes,” said the officials.

The health department had earlier planned to start free angiography and angioplasty of all patients at the Lady Reading Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar, and Ayub Teaching Complex, Abbottabad, with an outlay of Rs100 million. The government is yet to fully start the programme for benefit of the patients despite allocation of Rs60 million.

The officials said that free dialysis programme planned last year was also among the initiatives that failed to benefit people.

The department had also identified seven centres in district headquarters hospitals at the divisional level to be accessible to all patients, but they couldn’t benefit the patients, most of whom were unable to bear the costly dialysis.

“Many patients requiring dialysis twice or thrice a week have been suffering due to the delay in implementation of the desired programmes,” the officials said.

They also fear that the next government could scrap some of these programmes and implement their own, but suggested that these should be carried forward because the department had worked on them for several months.

“For designing each of these programmes we got data from the 25 district headquarters and teaching hospitals to know the prospective number of heart, kidney and cancer patients,” the officials said.

They advised that the next government should implement these programmes and put in place strict monitoring system to check irregularities.