PESHAWAR: In a sheer violation of rules, adviser to the chief minister on science and technology has formed a district health committee in Kohat and the transport minister officially designated a focal person in Bannu for supervising affairs of the major hospitals there, health officials said on condition of anonymity.
They said that the steps were taken despite the fact that there was a complete hierarchy from BPS-20 medical superintendent at the hospitals along with presence of district health officers, secretaries and directorate of health at the provincial level to look after the work under the respective minister.
“How a politically-appointed non-medical person can supervise the health affairs,” they asked.
The officials said that the health department hadn’t been informed about the formation of the committee and appointment of the focal person.
They said that how the minister and adviser could intervene when two of the hospitals in both the districts were medical teaching institutions and did not come under the health department directly, as these were being run by the board of governors.
Transport minister, adviser on S&T have also issued notifications for the purpose
The sources said that two notifications issued from the offices of the transport minister and adviser for appointment of the focal person for district health in Bannu and formation of a health committee to run the Divisional Headquarters KDA Hospital, Kohat, respectively, were the classic examples of political interference.
One notification on February 4 by minister of transport Shah Mohammad Khan asked the hospital directors of Khalifa Gul Nawaz Teaching Hospital, District Headquarters Teaching Hospital, Women and Children Hospital and the district health officer to cooperate with a resident of Bakakhel tehsil, Ihsanullah son of Taran, who had been nominated as focal person for all health facilities in Bannu district.
The minister who belonged to the same district said that he would be grateful if cooperation to the newly-appointed focal person was extended in the public interest.
In a separate notification issued on February 10, adviser to CM on science and technology, Ziaullah Bangash, formed a 13-memebr committee with a view to run the Divisional Headquarters KDA Hospital, Kohat, in coordination with the medical superintendent.
When contacted, Mr Bangash told Dawn that the committee had been formed to resolve local matters in the hospital, located in his constituency. He said that the committee would work in coordination with the MS to bring improvement in healthcare services.
“We also have committees for electricity, gas, education and cleanliness in my area,” the adviser said.
The sources said that a tubewell operator was asked in October last year via a letter in the MTI DHQ Hospital, Bannu, to carry out a visit of the hospital along with security staff to maintain discipline in night shift in addition to performing his duties. Also, a chowkidar worked with the health minister for over a year recently.
Appointment of Dr Jawad Wasif, a leader of Insaf Doctors Forum, as adviser to health minister was the first in the history of health department where a serving doctor held a post that never existed before. He joined as adviser in late 2018.
Dr Jawad, who doesn’t hold the position now, claimed that he had been appointed by Prime Minister Imran Khan to help carry forward the health reforms agenda.
The sources said that the top health officials were disturbed at the appointment of political people on positions for which they didn’t hold the desired qualifications.
Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2020