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Centre urged to withdraw notification for takeover of three major hospitals

Updated May 25, 2019

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Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah says the federal govt’s decision created uncertainty and panic. — Online/File
Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah says the federal govt’s decision created uncertainty and panic. — Online/File

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday said the notification issued by the federal government for taking control of the three major health facilities in the province must be withdrawn in public interest as it had created uncertainty and ambiguity and was affecting the service delivery system.

“The notification issued by the federal government must be withdrawn in the larger interest of people whose trust in the services of these hospitals has been renewed after hefty investments made by the Sindh government,” said the chief minister while presiding over a meeting held at the CM House to discuss the issue involving the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), National Institute of Child Health (NICH) and Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).

The meeting was attended by Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho, adviser to CM on law and information Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, principal secretary to CM, finance and health secretaries, executive director of NICVD Dr Nadeem Qamar, executive director of JPMC Dr Seemin Jamali, NICH director Dr Jamal Raza and other officials.

The CM says the federal govt’s decision created uncertainty and panic

“This decision has created a panic like situation and uncertainty which is bound to affect the performance of these best institutions,” Mr Shah said, adding that the ministry of national health services should have held preparatory meetings with the provincial government to work out modalities as directed by the Supreme Court but no such meeting was held.

“I am surprised and stunned that no such communication was offered to the management of these health facilities that could show that the federal authorities are taking over their control,” he said.

Mr Shah said the provincial government had filed a review petition in the Supreme Court and the federal government should have waited till the final verdict of the court came but “they issued a notification abruptly and created uncertainty”.

The chief minister asked the Advocate General of Sindh to file an application with the Supreme Court urgently for hearing of the review petition.

“We have various important projects which are going on in the three health facilities and many others are in the pipeline; thus, we want to settle such matters so that provincial government can move forward accordingly,” he said.

Mr Shah said the provincial government with its hard work and dedication had made the JPMC, NICVD and NICH state-of-the-art institutions with huge budgetary allocations directed for their improvement and expansion.

He added the provincial government had established eight satellites centres of the NICVD in various districts of Sindh. Similar satellite units had been planned to be established in other districts.The emergency department in the JPMC and its Cyber Knife project had already begun functioning, he added.

“We feel the provincial government can run these institutions in a best way possible because we are very close to them, therefore, the Sindh government should be allowed to help them flourish further under its administrative control,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2019