KARACHI: The United States has given $241 million to the Sindh government since 2011 under the USAID programme for improvement in education, health and municipal services sectors.

At present, Sindh Basic Education Programme (SBEP), Municipal Services Delivery Programme (MSDP) and Jacobabad Institute of Medical Sciences (JIMS) projects are in progress in the province.

This emerged during review of the schemes in a meeting between Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy Islamabad John Hoover and US Consul General in Karachi Grace Shelton at the CM House on Monday.

P&D chairman Mohammad Waseem and principal secretary to CM Sohail Rajput also attended the meeting.

The chief minister said he had already declared a state of emergency in education and health sectors while special attention was being given to municipal services.

“USAID has made some important contributions and I personally monitor all the work taking place under it,” he said.

USAID has provided a grant of $165m for the SBEP whereas the Sindh government contributed $10m.

“The SBEP aims at improving the quality of education and increasing the number of students enrolled in schools. The programme is being implemented in seven districts of northern Sindh and five towns of Karachi,” he said.

“For the implementation and management of the scheme, a Programme Management and Implementation Unit (PMIU) has been established in the school education department,” the chief minister further said.

The major components of SBEP include building of 106 new schools with 1,400 classrooms in flood-affected and other areas, improvement of reading and numeracy skills of 750,000 children over five years, engaging up to 400 communities in the construction, operation and maintenance of schools over five years and establish effective public-private partnerships to manage these schools and ensure enrolment of at least 100,000 girls.

The major targets of the SBEP, he said, included increasing knowledge and professional skills of 25,000 primary school teachers.

Mr Waseem said 875 schools had been assessed under the SBEP for construction.

“Right now 33 schools are under construction in Khairpur, Sukkur and Larkana districts. Private land owners donated their lands there to the school education department,” he added.

The P&D chairman said partnership had been established with Rotary International to equip science and computer labs in schools and to provide reading material to 1,100 school libraries.

The MSDP was launched with the USAID grant of $66m in which provincial government’s share was Rs926.55m.

“The programme is aimed at improving municipal services and their infrastructure in six cities of northern Sindh — Jacobabad, Qambar, Shahdadkot, KN Shah, Mehar and Johi.

“The USAID has invested $10m in establishing JIMS which is a 133-bed hospital offering outpatient treatment, emergency and diagnostic facilities, intensive care unit, surgical facilities and specialised care services for mother and child.”

Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2017