KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday approved and ordered release of Rs600 million for the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases from last financial year so that it could start its paediatric wards.

The chief minister took this decision on Thursday while presiding over a meeting to resolve all outstanding issues of the NICVD.

He also said that as per request of the NICVD, an additional grant of over Rs3 billion would be provided for Nawabshah, Mithi, Khairpur and Lyari. He directed the executive director of the NICVD to conduct audit of its accounts.

He directed the secretary of health to move a summary for constitution of a new board of governing body for the NICVD.

Approves alignment of Ghotki-Kandhkot bridge

He also asked the executive director of the NICVD to help establish a cardiac unit in every DHQ. “Now I don’t want to establish more satellites of the NICVD, therefore every DHQ must have its string, efficient and well-equipped cardiac unit,” he said.

The meeting, which was attended by Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho, principal secretary to the chief minister Sajid Jamal Abro, health secretary Saeed Awan, executive director of the NICVD Dr Nadeem Qamar and other officers concerned of the finance department, was told by the NICVD executive director that the NICVD Karachi had provided treatment to 640,212 patients in 2015.

In 2016 it increased to 729,468 patients, and went up to 123,633 in 2019. But now NIVCD has also established its eight Chest Pain Centres and 10 satellites where, including NICVD Karachi, 1,111,145 patients were given treatment by June 2019.

He said in Pakistan every year 40,000 children were born with heart diseases and the NICVD had the capacity of giving treatment to 60,000 patients every year.

At this the chief minister said it meant that the NICVD was providing treatment to entire Pakistan and patients from Afghanistan.

Ghotki-Kandhkot bridge

Presiding over another meeting, the chief minister approved the alignment of Ghotki-Kandhkot bridge, located 60km upstream of Sukkur Barrage and 60km downstream of Guddu Barrage, and directed the department concerned to send the project to the Indus River Commission for approval, so that work could be started as soon as possible.

The chief minister took this decision while presiding over a meeting of irrigation, water experts, consultants, works department engineers and stakeholders/locals of Kandhkot-Kashmore district here at CM House.

The bridge would be a “gift” for travellers between Punjab-Sindh-Balochistan and for people of all nearby districts.

The first hydraulic study of the project was conducted at the Irrigation Research Institute, Nadipur Lab on March 28, 2018, but the irrigation department expressed its reservations on the bridge location and proposed a new location which was about 14km upstream from the original bridge.

Before taking a decision, the chief minister constituted a joint expert committee of officials from NED University, Mehran University, irrigation department and works and services department to evaluate the bridge location options and recommend the most suitable location which after detailed deliberations recommended the original location.

The model study proposed a four-lane two-kilometre-long bridge and five kilometre approaching roads on both sides.

During 2010 flood, water spilled over Tori Bund, therefore, it was decided that all embankments located near the bridge would be strengthened.

Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2019