PESHAWAR, June 5: The NWFP Government has started consultations with a view to formulating a provincial health policy aimed at ensuring continuation of health programmes in the province, officials said.

They said: “We have started process of consultations with the stakeholders in the province. We have already held three rounds with the people closely associated with the healthcare system in the province, while three more rounds of consultations with others would take place within a period of one month.”

They said that if the plan for a provincial health policy went well, the NWFP would be the first province in the country to have had its own health policy. The need for a separate health policy has been prompted by the fact that every new government in the province abandoned the policy of their predecessors and put in place their own policies.

They said the provincial health policy would be tabled before the provincial assembly after the preparation of the policy draft.

The draft of the policy would be finalised by June 30 this year, which would be disseminated through the media to let the public know about the policy and get feedback, they added.

“By August, we would carry out amendments in the draft policy wherever needed,” said officials, adding that this would be a landmark achievement of the province and other provinces would follow suit.

He said that the hospital autonomy act had been issued by the government in 1997, but it had yet to be implemented because the new government had its own priorities. Moreover, the military-led government introduced institution-based practice (IBP) in the province, but the MMA-led government did away with the system.

In the process, he said some 40 senior consultants had tendered their resignations against the system due to which not only the healthcare system but medical education in the province had also suffered.

These consultants have resigned against the IBP, but the government was unable to reinstate them despite the fact the IBP had been done away with.

Under the new policy, it would be ensured that all health programmes remain continued even if the government changes, officials said.

They said that the German Technical Agency (GTZ) is supporting the initiative for which it has hired consultants.