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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is outsourcing basic health units to partner organisations through open competition against its earlier decision of extending contract of Sarhad Rural Support Programme for another three years, sources say.

The government, which had earlier given extension to SRSP for People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI) project, now wants to execute the project in accordance with the Public-Private Partnership Act, 2014 and invite more organisations.

SRSP, which implements its People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI) project in basic health units in 17 districts, has informed the government that it cannot continue the project. Sources say that it has refused to accept agreement because of the government’s plan to apply public private partnership law to such agreements.

SRSP began operations in seven districts in 2007 and get extensions of agreement through MoUs, and at present manages 571 basic health units in the province.

Sources said that last week, health department rescinded its decision to contract out 90 rural health centres (RHCs) to SRSP owing to pressure from the leadership of the ruling PTI to adopt PPPA, which hadn’t been applied to the agreement.

Now, the government also wants to offer BHUs through open bidding to partner organisations through competition and has asked SRSP to continue activities till the new arrangements.

Sources say that SRSP has informed the government that it wouldn’t run BHUs after the end of its contract early next year. SRSP also wants termination of the agreement because it has been politicised and the health department doesn’t cooperate with it, they add.

According to sources, the government awarded contracts to the non-governmental organisations to manage BHUs by improving presence of staff, equipment and medicines. The role of organisations is like consultants as they receive total budget of the districts and fill vacant posts and make prompt purchases of medicines, equipments etc due to which patients get smooth treatment.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2015