PESHAWAR: Former health minister Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan has alleged that health secretary blocked implementation of health reforms and took important decisions, including extension of Sehat Sahulat Programme to the entire province without taking him on board.

However, the health secretary vehemently denied the allegation and said that the decisions were taken before he assumed charge.

The former health minister, who was apparently replaced for his failure to carry forward PTI’s reforms agenda, said that decisions regarding Sehat Sahulat Programme, development projects in tribal districts and blocking health reforms also led to his political failure.

He said that he wanted inquiries relating to hiring of consultant by Health Care Commission and removal of chairman of Board of Governors of Qazi Hussain Ahmed Medical Complex besides enforcing Regional and District Health Authorities Act (RDHA) 2019 but his orders weren’t followed.

Health secretary rejects allegations

Health Secretary Mohammad Yahya Akhunzada told Dawn that he held the former minister in high esteem but said that all decisions had been taken long before he assumed charge.

“Being a government servant, I cannot think of disobeying health minister. We carry out instructions issued by the government,” he said.

In a 30-page document, sent to officials and PTI leadership, the former minister has said health secretary used delaying tactics in enforcement of RDHA 2019 and didn’t act on many inquiries and ignored him in meetings in violation of the business rules of the law department.

He said that the secretary went to a meeting regarding SSP held with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair on April 6 last year that was attended by secretaries of health and finance department but being in charge minister he didn’t attend it.

He said that on July 31, 2019, he was also ignored when chief minister chaired a meeting on SSP and other mega projects in tribal districts but health secretary turned up.

Another meeting held on August 28 about SSP’s extension to the entire province was attended by health secretary, director of the programme and representatives of State Life Insurance Corporation but the minister was not invited it.

He complained that he was bypassed and the secretary attended meeting with chief minister in chair to take stock of the health programmes and projects in tribal district on September 16.

He said that finance minister, finance secretary, planning and development department secretary and additional chief secretary took part in the meeting but the health minister didn’t. He said that he wasn’t invited to discuss recruitment of staff in tribal districts on September 16.

Dr Hisham said that his directives on the inquiries regarding hiring services of consultant for Health Care Commission and recovering amount from its former chairman for loss of vehicle were not followed.

The health secretary said that he was a government employee and was bound to attend meeting on the directives of higher authorities. “All the decisions have been taken by the government,” he added.

Senior officials said that the minister should have complained to the chief minister for not inviting him to meetings. They said that the secretary was a government officer, who attended all the meetings on the instructions of chief minister.

“The minister’s complaints are genuine but these should have been sent to CM’s office which didn’t inform him about health meetings,” they said.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2020