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CHITRAL: A number of basic health units here are likely to be closed after the provincial government decided to wind up the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Programme (KPHP) on December 31 as the partner organisation of the programme has terminated the agreement one year before the stipulated time.

An official of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Programme told Dawn on Friday that 18 basic health units run by the local health department were handed over to the President’s Primary Healthcare Initiative in June 2007, which was later renamed as KPHP.

The official said that a good number of initiatives were taken under the programme with three-pronged strategy of providing doctors, paramedical staff, free medicines and renovating the infrastructure as the facilities were in dilapidated condition due to government neglect.

He said that the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) was the partner organisation of the programme and had signed a deed which was to be terminated by December 31, 2014, but it decided to end it a year earlier because a clause of the agreement allowed doing so any time with a six months notice.

The official claimed that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Programme filled the posts of doctors in the BHUs of the remote villages for the first time by offering them with lucrative salary packages and other benefits.

He said that the abrupt rolling back of the programme would create a vacuum in the primary healthcare system in the remote areas, as the health department was unlikely to fill the void.

Moreover, he said the provincial government would not have adequate funds to make appointments before the next budget.

Meanwhile, district health officer Dr Israrullah, said that the closing of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Programme would make no difference as the health department was in a better position to take over its BHUs.

Dr Israr said that the department would advertise the vacant posts in the BHUs and fill them at all costs.

Published in Dawn, October 25th , 2014