off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid


Unprecedented development
work in health sector
in Punjab but--


Despite hindrances created by his political opponents, disgruntled politicians, the Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has continued his development work in the province which has earned him the appreciation of every one and he is known as the most active Chief Minister in Pakistan as compared to other chief ministers. Even in the health sector, there has been unprecedented development works which includes increase in health budget from Rs. 60 Billion to Rs. 262 Billion. A number of new hospitals have been constructed at District, Tehsil level and free drugs are available to the patients in emergency as well as those hospitalized in most of the cases. Highly expensive sophisticated diagnostic facilities have also been made available to the patients visiting public healthcare facilities in the province. An amount of Rs. 12 Billion was kept in the annual budget for provision of free drugs.

In order to prevent and eradicate Hepatitis-C which has emerged as an epidemic, one hundred ten Hepatitis clinics have been established at various DHQ and THQ hospitals. Two hundred fifty new dialysis machines have been provided to thirty new Tehsil Hospitals. Burns Units have been established at twenty five District Headquarters Hospitals. New CT scan and MRI machines have been installed at various hospitals. In order to ensure availability of quality services, seven non-clinical and ancillary clinical services at public healthcare facilities have been outsourced. Public & Private partnership is being encouraged to improve management at various hospitals.

One of the most important step which he has taken for which he should really be proud of is the establishment of Pakistan Kidney, Liver Institute and Research Center at Lahore under the leadership of Prof. M. Saeed.  First phase with 100-beds has been made functional and once fully complete, it will have 800-beds and 100-bed emergency center, a 100-bed ICU, a 100-bed outpatient dialysis facility, 20 operating rooms and 10 same-day surgery suites.  In the days to come it will emerge as one of the most important healthcare facilities in this region in this field. PKLI also plans to start Liver Transplant programme in the coming few months.

However, despite all this, his government’s failure to appoint permanent Vice Chancellors in various medical universities in time has seriously eroded his reputation of which he must be mindful.  The mess created at University of Health Sciences (UHS) and the King Edward Medical University (KEMU) which continue to function without permanent VCs till today (February 27, 2018) needs to be cleared as soon as possible. If intentions are good and the objective is to appoint competent, talented, experienced medical teachers with managerial capabilities, upholding merit, there should not be any problem and the decision can be taken with a few days but these universities are functioning without permanent VCS now for months. It appears he is being misled by some of his foolish advisors who in order to safeguard and protect their own selfish interests are bringing a bad name to the Chief Minister. Some of the physicians who are very close to him are said to be responsible for the present state of affairs. It is high time that he gets rid of these” individuals” and starts taking decision on “Merit”. One hopes someone in the health department and provincial government is listening.