Of Rs172bn for health, Rs24.73bn to be spent on fight against Covid

Published June 16, 2021
A health worker receives a dose of Sinopharm's Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Karachi, February 8. — Reuters/File
A health worker receives a dose of Sinopharm's Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Karachi, February 8. — Reuters/File

KARACHI: The Sindh government on Tuesday announced an increase of 30 per cent in the health allocation for financial year 2021-22 while setting aside Rs24.73 billion to combat coronavirus pandemic and separately earmarking Rs.1.5bn for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines.

In his budget speech, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah declared the health sector as the priority of his government.

The Sindh government earmarked maximum resources in 2020-21 for prevention, isolation, and treatment for Covid-19 patients; besides, significant resources were also spent on containing and mitigating the economic damage due to job losses and business closure.

“For the next financial year, an allocation of Rs172 billion is proposed as against an allocation of Rs132.88 billion in 2020-21,” he said.

“For NFY, the ADP of health is pitched at Rs18.5 billion. The next financial year will witness an increase of 30% in total allocation for health sector, including medical education. Moreover, Rs7.6 billion has been allocated in next financial year 2021-22 with an overall increase of 10 per cent for 9 vertical programs to combat/control polio, TB, AIDS, Lady Health Worker Program, hepatitis control, and expanded program for immunisation and others.”

Referring to main features of the budget, he said that Rs644.9 million had been set aside for TB Control Programme while Rs1.4bn for Lady Health Worker (LHW) Programme, Rs2.04bn for Prevention & Control of Hepatitis in Sindh, Rs315.9m for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health Programme, Rs309.8m for Malaria Control Programme, Rs2.5bn for EPI Programme, Rs288.7m for Sindh AIDS Control Programme, Rs57.9m for Prevention and Control Programme for Dengue and Rs76.8m had been earmarked for Prevention and Control of Blindness.

“We are dedicated to improving the health cover and are striving to maximise the facilities at the primary level,” he said. “On the other hand, we are trying to improve service delivery and enhance operational capabilities at the secondary and tertiary levels. Around 62 schemes [are] likely to be completed up to June 30, 2021, this will increase access to quality healthcare services network province-wide. Resource allocation is done as per real needs and requirement of the people. This has improved both the process of budgeting and provision of health services.”

Details of next year’s plans and estimates say that the budget estimates for health department (excluding medical education) in current revenue expenditure has been enhanced by 29.49pc from Rs132.884bn to Rs172.076bn in FY 2021-22.

It mentions Rs24.73bn allocated to combat coronavirus pandemic which includes Rs17.22bn for Health Risk Allowance.

Similarly purchase of drugs and medicines has been enhanced by 23pc from Rs14.89bn to Rs18.33bn while allocation for purchase of consumables is increased by 44pc from Rs1.085bn to Rs1.568bn.

The document then mentions key areas of health and their estimated allocations for the next fiscal which includes allocation of Rs2bn for medics and paramedics rendering Covid-19 emergency services and purchase of Covid-19 vaccine with Rs1.5bn.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2021

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