PESHAWAR: The government in collaboration with private organisation will set up medical colleges in backward districts of the province to improve medical education as well as patients’ care.

The private firms have been invited to materialise the programme under the public-private partnership to improve medical education and patients’ care in six districts where healthcare services are not to a desired level.

According to officials, the move is in line with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Private Partnership Act, 2014 under which KP Health Foundation has been assigned the task to ensure better health facilities to the people.

The foundation is authorised to facilitate agreements with private medical colleges and institutions to ensure that these intuitions operate in accordance with the relevant law and benefit the people. An advertisement was floated last month to invite interested parties.

Govt will execute plan in collaboration with private organisations

More than 15 applications have been received from the private organisations that have shown interest to start partnership with the government for constructing colleges in Bajaur, Kurram, North Waziristan, Lakki Marwat, Karak and Haripur.

The government will provide land to the partner organisations in the respective district for the building in accordance with the law. The law provides for entering into agreements with the private parties to upgrade services at the public sector organisations.

The designated districts have already district headquarters hospitals that will require upgradation in accordance with the guidelines of Pakistan Medical Commission to be used as training institute for the medical students.

Officials said that modalities would be sorted out with firms to take forward the programme through another advertisement to seek application for proposals after which the government would make final decision.

The agreement to be signed with the contracting party will ensure that they complete the building so they could be assisted by government to upgrade health services, including equippments, staff and medical supplies to district headquarters hospitals and ensure provision of smooth services to patients.

Officials said that law was meant to run government departments through private groups having required experience as the system was already in progress in Sindh and Punjab where the model was successful.

They said that through discussion with the firms, duration of the contract would be also sorted out as setting up college and upgradation of district headquarters hospital required huge investment and the government needed agreements for prolonged period.

The duration of contract will be lengthy and will be decided accordingly but people in the districts will benefit from the programme as it will be mandatory for the partner agencies to install machines, hire more staff and maintain standard in healthcare.

Officials said that several groups with excellent track record in public-private partnership in other provinces were among the applicants and they would help.

Simultaneously, the health department is in the process of outsourcing pathology and radiology services at district headquarters hospitals under public-private partnership initiative to provide unhindered services to the patients.

The foundation advertised the plan on October 16 to invite applications from the interested groups and organisations having expertise in the area of radiology and pathology and select the ones with sound background to start services in district headquarters hospitals. “So far, 100 firms have shown willingness,” said officials.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2019