Rs1bn earmarked for welfare of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Sindh

Updated June 15, 2019


More than 800 people, including 661 children have so far been diagnosed as HIV positive in a recent outbreak in Larkana’s Ratodero area. — Reuters/File
More than 800 people, including 661 children have so far been diagnosed as HIV positive in a recent outbreak in Larkana’s Ratodero area. — Reuters/File

KARACHI: Given the challenge posed by HIV/AIDS in the province, the government has earmarked Rs1 billion for an endowment fund being set up for the welfare of the persons living with HIV/AIDS and Rs500m to treat blood diseases in the budget for the next financial year.

It is pertinent to mention here that HIV/AIDS has emerged as a major health challenge in the country. More than 800 people, including 661 children have so far been diagnosed as HIV positive in a recent outbreak in Larkana’s Ratodero area.

The government has allocated an amount of Rs4.08bn for preventive programmes, including immunisation, AIDS, hepatitis, malaria, tuberculosis and blindness control programmes.

Murad says Centre’s takeover of Karachi’s hospitals has created ‘uncertainty and ambiguity’ in the health service delivery system

Major health targets for 2019-20 include procurement of machinery/equipment for different departments at the Chandka Medical College Hospital, Larkana, at an estimated cost of Rs600m, community mental health services programme in Sindh with an estimated cost of Rs275m, establishment of maternal and child healthcare centre in Jamshoro with the grant assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency and a 200-bedded hospital has been planned for Sukkur either through public-private partnership framework or through development financing.

The government plans to complete 43 schemes during 2019-20 to strengthen service delivery at all tiers.

No change in ADP allocation

The government has increased its current revenue health expenditures excluding medical education by 19 per cent while keeping the allocation under the annual development programme similar as that of the outgoing year.

The government allocated Rs13.5bn for 170 schemes in the financial year 2018-19 and an amount of Rs4.61bn was spent against a release of Rs8.01bn by June 3, 2019.

Twelve schemes are likely to be completed by June 2019 to improve access to healthcare services.

“The current revenue expenditure of health department excluding medical education has been significantly increased by 19 per cent from Rs96.8 billion in the current fiscal year 2018-19 to Rs114.4 billion in financial year 2019-20,” the chief minister pointed out in his speech.

He also stated that the health sector was being provided similar allocation for 2019-20 ADP as the outgoing year of Rs13.50bn.

The Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation would receive Rs5.6bn as a grant in the next financial year to sustain its services in Karachi and other cities.

The grant to Pir Abdul Qadir Shah Jeelani Institute of Medical Sciences, Gambat, district Khairpur, has been increased by 60pc from Rs2bn to Rs3.6bn.

The chief minister regretted the federal government’s notification to take over the control of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) in Karachi without any discussion with the provincial government.

“This decision has created uncertainty and ambiguity that has affected the service delivery system. The ministry of national health services should have held preparatory meetings with the provincial government to devise a mechanism [on the issue]. The provincial government has already filed a review petition in the Supreme Court and expect that our contribution will be recognised and hope for [a] favourable outcome,” he said.

He also talked about “the significant investments the provincial government has made in the three health facilities” and about some of the projects which were in pipeline.

“The hard work and dedication of the provincial government has made the JPMC, the NICVD and the NICH state-of-the-art institutions with huge budgetary allocation directed towards their improvement and expansion,” he said.

Highlighting some of these steps, he gave the example of NICVD whose allocation under the federal government was Rs355m in 2011-12, which the provincial government increased to Rs8.876bn in 2018-19.

“The NICVD has done commendable job and it is the biggest centre for the treatment of heart attacks and primary angioplasty in the world. It is providing timely and accessible cardiac services to the people of Sindh at their doorstep totally free of cost,” he said.

The chief minister also mentioned recent developments in the health sector and said that the government had launched a project to strengthen the monitoring and surveillance of health systems with the assistance of USAID.

“Several multi-disciplinary services, like paediatric cardiology, have been added to SIUT. Vaccinators’ strength has been enhanced to 2,768 while recruitment of additional 1,733 vaccinators is in the process. The TB Control Programme has established 350 clinics and installed 110 machines for rapid diagnosis of the disease,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2019