Many specialized institutes offering tertiary care facilities were established by the previous Government


Development work in Health Sector in Punjab
Many specialized institutes offering
tertiary care facilities were established
by the previous Government
It included Cardiac Institutes, Children Hospitals,
Kidney and Liver Institute, Burns Centers besides
improving facilities at existing healthcare facilities

LAHORE: An American trained Pakistani physician once remarked that “People living in Third world should never dream of getting First World healthcare”. It is a fact that we cannot compete with the developed world in any field but that does not mean that we should give up. We need to plan and create health infrastructure keeping in view our needs and available resources keeping the priorities right. Hence all the successive governments have tried to do something and contribute to the development of health infrastructure, setting up new medical institutions, medical and dental colleges, new hospitals besides improving, expanding the existing healthcare facilities.

Pakistan Muslim League (N) during its rule can also take credit of initiating and completing a large number of development projects in the health sector. Its performance in the province of Punjab under the dynamic leadership of Mian Shahbaz Sharif in particular has been commendable since health is a provincial subject. Some of these initiatives include the following:

  1. Improvement of facilities in twenty five District Headquarter Hospitals providing them much needed equipment and instruments. A four bed Intensive Care Unit was established in all these hospitals where even facilities of ventilators were made available.
  2. Eight new Tehsil Headquarter Hospitals were established. It has two beds Intensive Care Unit with facility of ventilators. One hundred seventeen new healthcare facilities were established at Tehsil level besides establishing or improving functioning of two thousand six hundred Basic Health Units. Some of these BHUs were already there but needed to be upgraded by adding new facilities and services.
  3. Pakistan Kidney and Liver Transplant Institute (PKLI) was established at Lahore.
  4. Children Hospital Complex was set up at Multan and Faisalabad.
  5. Establishing of Tayyab Erdgon Hospital at Muzaffargarh with the help and assistance of Turkey.
  6. Establishment of Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology, a state of the art highly advanced cardiac care facility which is equipped with latest equipment and instruments and has introduced many innovative procedures.
  7. Upgradation of various medical colleges to the level of Medical University. This included Fatima Jinnah Medical College for Girls at Lahore, Rawalpindi Medical College at Rawalpindi, Punjab Medial College at Faisalabad and Nishtar Medical College at Multan.
  8. New Medical Colleges were established at various major cities like Sahiwal, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sialkot, Gujrat, and Sargodha just to name a few while some more medical colleges were planned at other major districts including Vehari in the days to come.
  9. Establishment of Institute of Kidney diseases at Multan.
  10. Setting up a Modern Burns Centre at Nishtar Hospital Multan.
  11. Setting up a Surgical Tower at Mayo Hospital Lahore.
  12. Establishments of Drug Testing Laboratories in four major hospitals in the country.
  13. An effort was made to acquire the services of healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, and paramedics on merit.
  14. Healthcare was divided into two parts in Punjab i.e. One looking after curative services while the other concentrates on prevention.
  15. Special programmes were started to control diseases like Tuberculosis, Dengue, Hepatitis and AIDs
  16. Filter Clinics were established and started functioning for patients suffering from Hepatitis-C and other liver diseases. The patients coming to these centers were provided drugs free for a period of six months. Some of these patients also got drugs through courier service so that they do not have to come to the healthcare facilities frequently.
  17. All the cancer patients admitted at two leading public hospitals at Lahore were provided free drugs, a facility which the new government is reported to have stopped.
  18. Establishing a central purchase department of drugs and medicines which ensured purchase of drugs from pharmaceutical companies known for producing quality drugs at affordable price. This department ensured the provision of drugs and medicines to District, Tehsil Headquarter Hospitals as well as the Basic Health Units all over the province. While on one hand it ensured transparency while on the other hand patients got quality drugs.
  19. All the patient record was computerized.
  20. Special Ambulance service was introduced to take pregnant women to the nearby healthcare facility.
  21. Computerized programme was started for the transfer of the patients. This made it possible that the whole record of the patient being transferred was transferred to the hospital even before the patient reached there so that the hospitals can make necessary arrangements.
  22. At the Federal level, the PML(N) government introduced Health Insurance Scheme in Islamabad and later many other districts were also included in this programme. It was planned to spread this Health Insurance scheme in the entire country in the next five years. It also helped establish a Kidney Hospital at Swat in KPK.

Hence it is essential that the good work done by any government must be appreciated so that others are encouraged to further contribute their share instead of criticizing the governments. During the present COVID19 Pandemics the performance of the Sindh Government in general and the Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in particular has been commendable and praiseworthy. Sindh Government headed by Syed Murad Ali Shah took very difficult decisions in time to check the spread of this virus including Lockdown and other provinces, federal government had to follow. However, confused leadership of Pakistan was reluctant to take some much needed decisions in time with the result that we could not achieve the desired objectives in a short period and will have to live with this COVID19 pandemic now for quite some time.

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