Covid-19 prompts over 16pc increase in provincial health budget

Published June 18, 2020
Despite facing a serious financial crunch, the provincial government also increased health’s development portfolio. — Dawn/File
Despite facing a serious financial crunch, the provincial government also increased health’s development portfolio. — Dawn/File

KARACHI: In a bid to meet the challenge of Covid-19 in the province, the Sindh government has increased the allocation for the health sector by 16.1 per cent — from Rs114.4 billion to Rs132.88bn — in the provincial budget for financial year 2020-21.

In addition to Rs132.88bn, Rs7bn has been allocated for nine vertical programmes, including polio control, AIDS, TB, thus making the total allocation for the health sector Rs139.17bn.

Despite facing a serious financial crunch, the provincial government also increased health’s development portfolio.

In his budget speech at the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that his government had earlier decided to keep the size of development budget for 2020-21 “nearly same as that of 2019-20”.

However, he added, in exceptional cases such as health, allocation had been increased from Rs13.50bn to Rs23.50bn in order to meet the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic.

Allocations made for key healthcare facilities across the province

The CM said he was committed to providing maximum resources for the health sector. “Health continues to remain the third largest sector and for financial year 2020-21 total current revenue expenditure is budgeted at Rs139.1bn while allocation for development schemes is Rs23.5bn.

Covid-19 measures

An amount of Rs5bn is allocated for Covid-19 response, the budget document says, recalling the extraordinary challenge that the provincial government has been facing since February.

It said that the government had established a Rs3bn Coronavirus Emergency Fund and released Rs1.11bn for setting up field isolation centres in the current financial year.

In addition, Rs4.12bn was released to designated public and private health facilities for Covid-19 and Rs1.08bn was provided to all deputy commissioners for providing rations to the poor and daily wage earners.

The CM told the Sindh Assembly in his budget speech that during the current financial year (2019-20), Rs4bn was allocated as a special grant for the Indus Hospital Karachi.

The government has also allocated Rs500m for the National Institute of Blood Diseases (NIBD).

Rs7bn for nine vertical programmes

The CM said that Rs7bn had been allocated in the financial year 2020-21 for nine vertical programmes to combat/control polio, TB, AIDS, hepatitis control, expanded programme for immunisation and others.

An amount of Rs559.4m has been allocated for the TB Control Programme while Rs5.5bn allocated for a multi-sectoral Accelerated Action Plan for reduction of stunting and malnutrition in various departments, including health.

The lady health worker programme got Rs1.2bn in the next budget; Rs1.9bn for prevention and control of hepatitis in Sindh; Rs267.9m for maternal, neonatal and child health programme and Rs2.3bn for EPI Sindh.

Infectious disease control hospitals

An amount of Rs1bn has been allocated for a 200-bed infectious disease control hospital in Karachi; Rs1bn for upgrade and making operational newly completed 22 health facilities; Rs234.6m for upgrade of healthcare services for the Lyari General Hospital.

The government has also allocated Rs1.3bn and 1.12bn, respectively, for the establishment of 200-bed infectious diseases control hospitals in Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad.

Also, Rs2bn each has been allocated for the establishment of 200-bed infectious diseases control hospitals in Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana.

An amount of Rs521.1m has been allocated for the health facilities of proscribed organisations which had been taken over by the Sindh government.

Over Rs10bn for cardio hospitals

The Sindh government has allocated Rs5.15bn for the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) in the next budget.

The budgetary allocations for the Sindh Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (SICVD) is Rs5.14. The SICVDs are situated in Karachi, Larkana, Sehwan, Hyderabad, Sukkur, T.M. Khan, Shaheed Benazirabad, Khairpur and Mithi.

The government has allocated Rs3.6bn for the Institute of Pir Abdul Qadir Shah Jillani, Gambat. It also allocates Rs1.75bn for the SMBB Trauma Centre in Karachi.

Rs5.6bn for SIUT

The provincial government has also earmarked Rs5.6bn for the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation in its budget for 2020-21.

An amount of Rs6.53bn has been allocated for the Peoples Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI). A sum of Rs2.56bn has been allocated for the PPP node health department.

Around Rs893.79m has been allocated for extension of services of the SIUT.

Rs550.42m has been allocated for the establishment of a 25-bed trauma centre at the Sindh Government Lyari General Hospital, Karachi.

The government has allocated Rs431.13m for medicine of blood cancer; Rs1bn for welfare of HIV/AIDS patients; Rs160m for treatment of Thalassaemia in various health facilities; Rs900m allocated for the Child Life Foundation Karachi; Rs383.87m allocated for extension of a project for other cancer diseases and Rs150m has been allocated for dialysis in various health facilities.

Rs300m has been allocated for the Institute of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Hyderabad; Rs600m for the Jacobabad Institute of Medical Sciences; Rs300m for the Shahdadpur Institute of Medical Sciences; Rs100m for the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; and Rs365m has been allocated for the Sindh Health Care Commission.

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2020

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