PESHAWAR: Health Foundation is yet to hand over eight hospitals outsourced to non-governmental organisations in erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Chitral in June last year owing to objections by the Board of Governors.
Sources said that the operations of Health Foundation (HF), which was required to contract out health facilities under Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Private Partnership Act 2016, to improve their performance and benefit the people, was yet to hand over eight facilities to private organisations under agreements signed in mid-2020.
They said that all arrangements had already been finalised and the respective organisations were ready to run those health facilities under terms and conditions outlined in the respective piece of legislation but BoG was yet to accord approval.
“The facilities, which have been outsourced, have failed to operate effectively under the health department due to which the government asked HF to enter into collaboration with private parties to improve their performance and provide relief to patients,” said sources.
Health facilities in ex-Fata and Chitral were outsourced to improve their performance
They said that the private groups that signed agreements with HF were also concerned over the long delay in handing over of the health facilities to them as they had already completed homework to start operations there.
The hospitals, all Type D ones, are located in Toikhula and Mola Khan Serai Sarokai areas of South Waziristan tribal district, Dogar area of Kurram tribal district, Mamad Gat area of Mohmand tribal district, Darazinda area of former Frontier Region Dera Ismail Khan, Ghiljo area of Orakzai tribal district and Mastung and Garam Chashma areas of Chitral district.
Four of them will be managed by Medical Emergency Resilience Foundation (Merf), two by Aga Khan Health Services and one each by Transcontinental and National Integrated Development Association (Nida).
Health officials said that they desperately wanted the organisations to start work in the hospitals located in former Fata because the staff was reluctant to work there and half of the posts were vacant in those facilities.
They said that outsourcing of hospitals was important to improve service delivery in those districts, which suffered during militancy. They added that government had planned to sign contracts with more parties for outsourcing other health facilities to improve diagnostic and treatment services there.
The health department appointed seven-member BoG of Health Foundation in October 2020 with view to ensure that the public private partnership takes place in line with the government’s policy and make the services effective for the patients.
However, the BoG is yet to grant approval to the agreements with the organisation.
Dr Shabina Raza, a member of BoG, told Dawn that they had been working hard to implement the agreements with the respective parties for provision of better health services to patients.
“This BoG is the best both technically and operationally as we have in a short time held nine formal meetings while 15 informal meeting have been held. We have given our private time to improve operations of HF,” she said.
Dr Shabina, the former director-general health services, said that there were some basics requirements that needed to be fulfilled prior to allowing the organisations to start work in the outsourced hospitals.
“The chairman of BoG has asked managing director of Health Foundation to meet the requirements for outsourcing the facilities under the law so that the process can be taken forward,” she said.
Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2021