KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday pledged that his party would revolutionise public healthcare system to provide ‘world-class free medical treatment in a dignified manner’ to people across Pakistan if given a public mandate in the upcoming general elections.

In a statement on World Health Day, he said that bringing health facilities to the doorsteps of the people is the manifesto of his party, and the Sindh government has developed world-class health institutions as a bright example for other governments. He said public health had always been one of the top priorities of his party.

“After creation of Pakistan, most hospitals and health centres were established in the country for the first time during the tenure of Quaid-i-Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” the statement quoted him as saying.

“The initiative of Lady Health Volunteers, taken by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, was a revolutionary development and the backbone of our public healthcare system in the country. The initiative of anti-polio campaign to save the nation’s children from becoming crippled is also an unforgettable gift of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to our present and future generations.”

The PPP chairman said that the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and its satellite network, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), Pir Abdul Qadir Shah Jilani Institute of Medical Sciences, Gambat, and the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) and its CyberKnife technology unit for cancer treatment are the gifts of the PPP government to the people of the entire country, besides Sindh.

Since 2008, the PPP government, he said, has built more than 500 small and large healthcare centres and hospitals across Sindh. The foundation stone of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (ZABICVD), the world’s largest free cardiology hospital with 1,200 beds, is also a ‘reflection of our commitment’.

“If people gave the mandate to the PPP in the upcoming general elections, the party will spread the network of institutions like NICVD, SIUT and Gambat Institute across the country, so that people should have access to world-class free medical treatment in a dignified manner,” he added.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari also paid tribute to the doctors, nurses, lady health workers and other health professionals who worked day and night to save the lives of their countrymen during the coronavirus outbreak. The medical staff who sacrificed their own lives while treating the patients during the pandemic deserved a special mention in our prayers, he added.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2023

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