PM orders construction of ‘health tower’ in Pims

Published June 13, 2024
Custom officials shift budget documents to the National Assembly in Islamabad on Wednesday. — White Star
Custom officials shift budget documents to the National Assembly in Islamabad on Wednesday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: As the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) receives over 10,000 patients daily with other health facilities in the capital also overburdened, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered the authorities concerned to build a ‘health tower’ to house hospitals, medical and nursing universities, modern laboratories and diagnostics centres.

The premier, chairing a meeting to review the matters related to the Ministry of National Health Services, sought a strategy for the construction of the said tower through a public-private partnership project.

It is worth mentioning that the federal government has already allocated Rs100 billion in the Public Sector Development Programmes (PSDP) for public-private partnership projects. He also called for carrying out the third-party audit of the laboratories working within the purview of the Ministry of National Health Services, besides appointing well-qualified health professionals in the ministry and its allied departments.

Drap audit

Moreover, the premier also ordered the third-party audit of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) and the formulation of a strategy to bifurcate the drug processing from the authority. Vowing to personally monitor health-related matters, PM Shehbaz also called for a strategy to bifurcate the drug processing from the authority.

Shehbaz orders audit of Drap, bifurcation of regulator

An official of Drap, wishing not to be named, said that the premier gave a very positive and pertinent direction regarding Drap as the decision “will eliminate the conflict of interest in the authority”.

“Currently, Drap approves medicines; once a medicine is approved by the authority, it becomes next to impossible to ensure its quality,” he said, adding that there should be separate authorities to look into the quality of medicines and registration of drugs.

“This decision will improve the quality of medicines…[also help] increase the exports of medicines,” he claimed.

Besides, the PM also instructed outsourcing the human resources departments of all government hospitals in Islamabad and their waste treatment plants, in addition to the audit of nursing schools and colleges across the country.

During the briefing, the prime minister was told that a National Blood Transfusion and Blood Products Policy would be introduced soon, and work on a nursing and midwifery policy framework was in the final stage. He was also informed that an evening shift was being introduced in the nursing colleges to increase the number of graduates. Moreover, the work on a revised National Action Plan 2025-30 has been started to control the population growth.

Highlighting the significant responsibilities of the health sector to save human lives, the prime minister expressed his concerns about the rise in polio cases in the country and resolved the elimination of the disease by utilising all-out resources in collaboration with partners.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2024

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