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Health reforms in KP fall prey to slow legislation

April 08, 2013

PESHAWAR, April 7: The failure of the previous government to make desired legislation has dealt a severe blow to the efforts of health department to introduce reforms for improving patients care in the province, according to officials.

They told Dawn on condition of anonymity that the efforts of health department to draft laws for introducing reforms in the province were proven fruitless as the previous government couldn’t legislate for the purpose despite completion of its tenure.

“The most important bills that didn’t become laws despite the fact that they were ready to be made Acts can be adopted by the coming government. But the track record shows that such legislations are often consigned to dustbins after the end of the government, which initiates them,” the officials said.

They said that politicians were in the habit of the abandoning the policies of their predecessors in the government.

Amendments proposed to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Medical and Health Institutions and Regulation of Healthcare Services Ordinance 2012, which couldn’t be adopted into law, was the most significant piece of legislation that took almost two years before being sent to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, the officials said.

They said that the law was aimed at bringing reforms in the healthcare system by putting in place certain standards for the public and private sector health institutes.

The officials said that Human Organs Transplant Bill also failed to sail through the assembly because of end of the government’s tenure. According to officials, the law had drawn criticism from religious quarters, however, their concerns were addressed by amending the draft law.

Other provinces had already enacted such laws, making transplantation of human organs a part of hospital programmes, they said.

The officials said that non-passage of Health Regulation Authority (HRA) Bill also dealt serious blow to the efforts aimed it regulating healthcare delivery.

The proposed law sought to set up HRA at provincial and district level with the former assigning the task of formulating policies and the latter to implement the same in the respective district.

Likewise, law to put brakes on the preventable diseases also didn’t see light of the day despite 18-month strenuous efforts to draft it and fulfil other formalities, the officials said. They said that the health department would request the next government to pursue the same legislation to avoid delay in the implementation of the reforms programmes.

The Food Safety Act also remained far from becoming a law despite the fact that it had been in the assembly for few weeks. The proposed law, a consolidated form of nine Acts dealing with health, was aimed it overcoming communicable and non-communicable diseases, officials said.

“The new government will start these processes afresh which will be a waste of time,” they said, adding that the new government would be requested to adopt the same laws because those had already been vetted by law department but would need cabinet’s approval before landing in the assembly.