KARACHI: While medical circles are demanding restoration of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) following the ouster of the Imran Khan-led government, the Sindh government has shown its interest in amending the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) Act.

A statement in this respect came from provincial Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho at a press conference held on Friday at the office of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI). The event was organised in connection with the World Immunisation Week being observed from April 24-30.

“The Sindh government is seeking amendments to the Pakistan Medical Commission Act as it was introduced without taking inputs from the provinces,” the minister said in reply to a question, adding that the changes were aimed at improving the law.

On the Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) organised by the PMC last year, she said the provincial government wanted to organise the test in the provinces as was the past practice.

Minister Pechuho says 805 cases of measles reported this year in province

“We have shared our reservations over the MDCAT in detail at a recent meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and hoped that the provinces would be allowed to hold these tests per past practice, which was transparent and fair,” she said.

The minister was also clear about her government’s plans to take over city’s three key tertiary care hospitals — Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and National Institute of Child Health — and said the objective was to have administrative control of those health facilities under an agreement with the federal government.

She said: “In the same meeting with the prime minister, the provincial government has shown its interest in having an agreement with the federal government to run these hospitals.”

The provincial government, she pointed out, was seeking better coordination with the federal government to sort out pending matters as well as to ensure continuity of the Universal Health Coverage Programme being funded by the World Bank.

The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), a prominent body representing the medical fraternity in the country, has recently demanded immediate restoration of the PMDC that was dissolved during the PTI government and PMC was constituted.

The health minister rejected the criticism over the appointment of Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Abdul Qadir Patel as federal health minister and said he did not have a technical role except for making policy decisions.

“Such appointments have more to do with political will rather than knowledge,” she said, adding that there was a team of professionals who worked with ministers.

Citing data on measles, the minister said 805 cases of the infectious disease had been reported this year in Sindh from January till March. But she described the situation as “improved”.

The department, she said, had geared up efforts including extension in the outreach programme and increasing in the number of vaccinators to ensure that every child was immunised against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases.

“We are conducting immunisation drives on the same pattern that we have for anti-polio campaigns, which means carrying out thorough micro-planning before the launch of a drive,” she said.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2022

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