PESHAWAR: The health department has planned to award affiliation to private paramedical and nursing schools with hospitals to improve training of the students, according to officials.

The province has more than 200 private paramedical and nursing institutes but majority of them don’t have any affiliation with hospitals to train their students in practical work and issue them certificates on the basis of oral examinations.

“The mushroom growth of the institutes attracts a large number of students, almost in all districts, but the quality of training is very poor because they lack practical training,” officials told Dawn. They added that the people qualified from those institutes did not know how to administer injection and record blood pressure that resulted in suffering of patients.

“The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Foundation (HF) has sent a proposal to the government for award of affiliation to such institutes to impart effective training to the students at the hospitals and enable them to work properly once they are passed out,” said officials.

A month ago, majority of the institutes had been inspected by the authorities concerned and except a few all had buildings, infrastructure and other requirements for teaching paramedics and nurses but there were no arrangements for practical training.

Move aimed at improving practical training of students

Officials said that the institutes lacking infrastructure had been advised to fulfil the deficiencies prior to getting affiliation with the public sector hospitals. The Health Foundation established in 1996 remained dormant as it didn’t perform its functions including signing agreements with private organisations and institutes for public private partnership to benefit the people.

They said that the province had also eight medical colleges that required to be affiliated with hospitals because the students needed practical training along with academic work. They said that health department would task the Provincial Health Services Academy to devise a fee structure for the private instates as present they charged different fees from the students.

The government will sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the institutes to sort out modalities regarding the affiliation and the fee they have to give to the hospitals concerned per student for training facilities.

Khyber Medical University, which is giving permission for the institutes to operate, will also be approached to ensure that only those institutes that have affiliation with hospitals are registered. Similarly, Pakistan Medical Commission will be taken on board as far as the affiliation of government hospitals with the private medical colleges is concerned.

“Under the plan, HF in collaboration with KMU and PHSA will determine the number of students they could admit,” said officials. They said that there would be no registration of the new schools, institutes or medical colleges without having affiliated hospitals. They added that there would also be a merit-based admission system for which the institutes would be responsible to follow the laid down criteria.

“There are 150 paramedical institutes and 50 nursing schools in private sector that will be connected with the government hospitals in the respective districts,” said officials. The HF is also in the process to sign agreements with private organisations for running six hospitals in tribal districts and district headquarters hospitals in settled districts under the public-private partnership programme.

“The private organisations will install diagnostic machines and will charge the government’s approved rates from the patients,” said officials.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2019