Sindh plans to hire 2,200 doctors to fight Covid-19

Updated June 30, 2020

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The meeting also decided to release salaries to medical officers, staff nurses, lab technologist and technicians who were appointed for 89 days in the wake of Covid-19. — Reuters/File
The meeting also decided to release salaries to medical officers, staff nurses, lab technologist and technicians who were appointed for 89 days in the wake of Covid-19. — Reuters/File

KARACH: The Sindh government on Monday announced its plan to recruit 2,200 doctors in a move to bridge the widening gap emerging due to the growing number of coronavirus cases in the province after a larger number of health workers fell victim to Covid-19.

The decision came during a meeting jointly chaired by Sindh Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah and Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho. A statement said the meeting was also attended by the secretary finance Syed Hassan Naqvi, secretary health Kazim Jatoi, Vice Chancellor of Dow University of Health Sciences Prof Dr Muhammad Saeed Qureshi and other senior officials.

“The chief secretary directed the secretary health to move a summary to Sindh Public Service Commission for the recruitment of 2,200 doctors,” it said.

“The chief secretary Sindh also directed him to write to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to increase the number of technician seats in the medical universities and colleges of the province.”

The meeting, it said, discussed various issues of the health department, including release of salaries of newly appointed medical officers, staff nurses, lab technologist and technicians; release of funds for the Child Life Foundation, the Trauma Centre, medical universities; recruitment of new doctors and expansion of high dependency unit (HDUs) and intensive care units (ICUs) of the province.

In an attempt to meet the challenge of Covid-19 in the province, the Sindh government earlier this month increased the allocation for the health sector by 16.1 per cent from Rs114.4 billion to Rs132.88bn in the provincial budget for 2020-21.

In addition to Rs132.88bn, Rs7bn has been allocated for nine vertical programmes, including polio control, AIDS and 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.

The chief secretary while addressing the meeting also highlighted the same efforts by the provincial government. Mr Shah, the statement added, said the Sindh government had given priority to the health sector in the budget.

He directed the finance secretary to release withheld funds to the medical universities of Sindh and thalassaemia centres.

The meeting also decided to release salaries to medical officers, staff nurses, lab technologist and technicians who were appointed for 89 days in the wake of Covid-19.

“The ventilator management training will be provided to the doctors and paramedics and for this the health department has been directed to move a proposal in this regard,” the statement quoted the chief secretary as saying.

Minister Pechuho told the meeting that the number of ICUs and HDUs in various hospitals were being increased.

“Some 147 ICUs and 834 HDUs are being added in different hospitals, including Civil Hospital, Services Hospital, Lyari Hospital, Gulistan-i-Jauhar Hospital and Nipa Hospital,” the statement quoted the health minister as saying.

“More than 400 doctors are currently providing telemedicine services. An agreement has also been signed to hire another 250 doctors for telemedicine. There are 452 rapid response teams consisting of 1,382 doctors and paramedics working in the field for coronavirus.”

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2020