Murad claims PM asked Sindh govt to operate three major hospitals

Updated February 11, 2020

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Murad Ali Shah administers polio drops to a child in Baldia Town on Monday.—APP
Murad Ali Shah administers polio drops to a child in Baldia Town on Monday.—APP

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday said Prime Minister Imran Khan had told him the federal government could not run three major hospitals in Karachi — Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH) — and gave them to the provincial government to operate.

“During our discussion, the prime minister said he knew how hard it was to run a hospital; therefore, the provincial government has to run these three hospitals,” said Mr Shah while speaking to reporters after inaugurating a seven-day polio eradication campaign by administering drops to children at the Rural Health Centre, Baldia Town.

The chief minister said during PM’s recent visit the issue of administrative control of the three hospitals came under discussion and the prime minister said he was well aware how difficult it was to run a hospital, therefore “he gave me go ahead to control these hospitals”.

Launches week-long drive against polio in Karachi

Mr Shah said he had given two options to the federal government. “The federal government could give these three hospitals on the pattern of PPP [public private partnership] mode to the Sindh government. Another option was to hand [them] over to the provincial government to run them under its administration.”

He added if the federal government was serious to operate those hospitals he would have no objection but then Islamabad would have to return the money the Sindh government had invested in these health facilities since 2011.

2.3m kids to be administered polio drops

CM Shah said that during the current year, five polio cases had been detected thus far. “Seriously, this is a painful thing for me because I have been making efforts to control it but negative results have come up so far,” he said.

Mr Shah said in November, there should have been a meeting of the National Polio Eradication Task Force under the prime minister but it could not be called.

He added now the strategy had been altered to get local governments, civil society and parents involved to save children from the crippling disease.

Mr Shah said the city’s 2.3 million children would be targeted in the seven-day campaign he had launched at the rural health centre.

Another campaign would be launched on Feb 17 in others districts of Sindh that would target 6.7m children.

He thanked 13,000 volunteers participating in the gigantic drive and appreciated the law enforcement agencies for according security to volunteers. “All this is being done for the betterment of our children.”

Drive against stray dogs

The chief minister said the local government organisations would start a drive against stray dogs.

“I have given them instructions to start a special drive and save people, particularly children from dog bites,” he said.

On indication of a resident of Baldia Town, he asked the health department to complete an under-construction 100-bedded hospital at the earliest.

Mr Shah said his meeting with Sindh Governor Imran Ismail was a “routine sitting”.

“We have been meeting on and off and there was nothing new in that meeting,” he said.

About the issue of removal of the inspector general of police, he said he had sent five names to the federal government to appoint one of them as the new IGP.

“The removal of IGP was the decision of the Sindh cabinet and being the chief minister I am bound to honour it,” he said, adding, “The ball is now in the court of the federal government and the delay in posting of new IGP is beyond my understanding.”

Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho and other officials were also present.

Absence of senior officers

CM Shah paid a surprise visit to the offices of various secretaries at Tughlaq House (old secretariat) at 10am to check their attendance.

He started his visit from the home department where all officers, including the secretary were absent. The private secretary to the home secretary told the CM his superior was in court in connection with a case. Mr Shah asked where the rest of the staff was.

“Almost all additional secretaries, deputy secretaries and section officers are absent,” he said asking his principal secretary to call a report from the home secretary.

The situation was not different in the offices of agriculture department where almost all staff, including its secretary, were absent. He also visited the offices of labour, transport, irrigation, education and local government departments and found almost all secretaries, except that of labour, absent.

Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2020