PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has abolished the post of director health in erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas to integrate it with health department after two years in line with the 25th Amendment passed by the National Assembly in May 2018.

“The delay to integrate ex-Fata health directorate with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department was caused by many donor-funded projects which were in progress there. Due to those programmes, it couldn’t be merged with KP technically,” officials said.

They said that after removing all technical and legal obstacles, the government on September 2 abolished the post of director health Fata and brought the merged districts under the KP health department.

Officials said that government had to implement the 25th Amendment in accordance with the law and bring all the programmes under the health department as part of merger plan. They said that KP had its own expanded programme on immunisation, nutrition and mother and child health programme but the same programmes were sponsored by UN-agencies, international organisations and federal government with separate PC-1s.

Dept starts exercise to streamline healthcare delivery in merged districts

They said that there was a big project of mobile health services that was launched in collaboration with army and some donor agencies and it couldn’t be taken over by the department.

Officials said that the move to integrate Fata health with the province was initiated in late 2018 but it couldn’t take off after emergence of technical issues. Few notifications were issued during the last two years to materialise the merger plan but after deliberations it was delayed and a committee was formed in March last year to remove the hindrances prior to enforcement of the programme.

The committee having officials of planning and development and other departments reviewed the situation and recommended steps to ensure merger of Fata health directorate with KP.

The committee waited to let the donor-funded programmes complete its stipulated time periods in former Fata before carrying out constitutional obligation of its integration with KP health department. By August 31, the committee completed the recommendation and the post of director health Fata was abolished subsequently.

Officials said that the committee had started monitoring the performance indicators of Fata health system for the past few years and finally decided to do away with the separate status and merge it with KP.

“We have taken over all programmes of Fata and the provincial health department has assumed its role as the directing authority for all 35 districts including the merged ones,” said officials. They said that health authorities in seven districts and six frontier regions (FRs) would be managed by director-general health services KP.

Health department has meanwhile started an exercise to streamline the healthcare delivery in former Fata which despite having had sprawling network of health facilities and staff couldn’t deliver and patients are transported to and KP for minor ailments.

“There is absenteeism and the health facilities were underutilised. Now, the KP health department has extended its monitoring system to benefit the patients and take action against those, who don’t perform duty,” said officials.

They said that there were 9,000 employees in 979 health facilities in former Fata and of the 108 sanctioned posts of specialists, 80 were vacant. More than half of 50 sanctioned positions of women medical officers were also vacant because before merger, the situation was very bad, they added.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2020