Articles Providing affordable and quality health services to ailing tribesmen...

Providing affordable and quality health services to ailing tribesmen through enhanced health services- a way forward

Providing affordable and quality health services to ailing tribesmen through enhanced health services- a way forward

Fakhar Alam

PESHAWAR, Mar 9 (APP):Following successful completion of the repatriation process of Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs), the Government has scaled up efforts for speedy rebuilding of infrastructure, equipping hospitals with medicines, life-saving vaccines and specialist doctors in merged areas in order to provide quality treatment to all.

Showing strong commitment to strengthen health sector in merged areas, the Federal and KP Government have joined hands for speedy execution of eight gigantic health projects worth Rs10,109 million under Accelerated Implementation Program (AIP) 2019-20 in line with 10-year Tribal Decade Strategy (TDS 2020-30) to provide quality and affordable treatment services to ailing tribesmen at their doorsteps.

 These projects include saving Maternal and Infant Lives (M&IL), revamping of secondary hospitals, provision of specialist doctors, Medical Education & Tertiary Services (ME&TS), regional blood transfusion system, provision of quality medicines & vaccines, promoting Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and health financing through multifaceted Accelerated Implementation Program (AIP) during current fiscal year.

 To save M&IL, a scheme regarding provision of portable ultrasound machines with Rs200 million allocation has been approved for all district headquarters hospitals (DHQs) in merged areas. Under this scheme, 50 ambulances costing Rs359 million would be purchased for speedy transportation of 4,500 expectant mothers from homes to hospitals in merged areas. 

According to AIP program, around 85 basic health units (BHUs) would be revamped and equipped with rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) besides rehabilitation of remaining BHUs costing Rs325 million in addition to rehabilitation of nine rural health centers (RHCs) with an estimated cost of Rs150million.

 The KP Government has approved Maternal Newborn & Child Health (MNCH) program with Rs380 million allocation for current fiscal year and strengthening of nurse practitioners training for effective family planning program costing Rs 280 million in erstwhile Fata. Govt has also planned to convert BHUs into Comprehensive Health Units (CHU) with an estimated cost of Rs480 million to be fully equipped with latest medical and surgical facilities including Operation theaters, ICUs and emergency services.

 Special focus is being made on revamping of secondary hospitals in all seven merged districts as all DHQs and tehsil headquarters hospitals (THQs) would be brought at par with tertiary hospitals. As many as Rs450 million were proposed for rehabilitation of basic infrastructure of DHQs, Rs900million for provision of standard medical and non-medical equipment at secondary hospitals, Rs450 million for outsourcing of non-clinical services costing Rs450 million, Rs900million for standardization of secondary hospitals, Rs180 million for implementation of electronic medical record (EMR) and health management information system (HMIS) and Rs180 million for hospitals waste management at DHQs. The Government has decided to strengthen accident and emergency departments at DHQs in North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Kurram, Orakzai, Khyber, Mohmand and Bajaur tribal districts costing Rs 480million and establishment of ICUs, Neonatal ICU and children care unit with an estimated cost of Rs300 million at all DHQs.

 Niaz Muhammad Afridi, Director, Health Services Merged Areas told APP that work on around 70 percent projects under AIP were expedited to bolster health infrastructure, increasing doctors, nurses, medicines and life-saving vaccines in all major hospitals, adding an inclusive ten years TDS would be completed in three phase 2020-23, 2024-27 and 2028-30 with top focus on strengthening of education and health sectors in merged areas.  
   He said independent electricity lines would be brought from main supply transmission lines to all district headquarters hospitals for provision of uninterrupted electricity supply with an estimated cost of Rs180 million to provide free treatment to patients around the clock. Dr. Niaz said six new hospitals including Sholam in South Waziristan, Machni Mela in Orakzai and Mohmadgut Mohmand district were completed and specialized staff was being hired for smooth health delivery system. “Persuading specialist doctors to serve in merged areas’ hospitals is a big challenge,” he said, adding attractive incentives were being offered to specialist doctors to serve in DHQs, THQs and others remote hospitals. “The services of 100 consultants doctors would be hired on Rs4,50,000 per month salary each with Rs225 million allocation, 15 emergency medical officers on Rs300,000 per month salary for secondary hospitals with Rs330 allocation and more than 300 medical officers for remote areas’ hospitals on Rs200,000 per month salary each with Rs330million funds during current fiscal year,” he said.

To provide quick transportation services to patients, 50 ambulances would be purchased for all major hospitals especially to DHQs on need basis.

“Promotion of medical education and strengthening of tertiary facilities in merged areas remained the cornerstone of PTI Govt policy under which DHQs would be upgraded besides conducting feasibility studies for establishment of medical college in Kurram district through public private partnership with an estimated cost 341.750 million.”

 Introduction of tale-diagnostic facilities costing Rs66.500 million and up-gradation of DHQ hospitals in North Waziristan and South Waziristan would serve as teaching institutions following establishment of medical colleges in these tribal districts costing Rs 341.750 million.

 The Govt would establish regional blood centre along with screening, storage and transportation of blood to DHQs costing Rs400 million. Top focus would be on provision of quality medicines and life saving vaccines besides other health equipment and supplies such as X-Rays in addition to combating fatal ailments like TB and polio. Under public private partnership, he said six type D hospitals would be constructed in merged areas costing Rs 350million besides Rs 170 million for extension of health insurance during current fiscal year.

 “We have issued special advisory for information of people in wake of report of corona virus cases in the country with directions to all the government and private hospitals in KP to immediately report if symptoms are noticed in any patient,” Dr Niaz Afridi said. He said specialist health staff equipped with necessary equipments has been deployed for screening of people at Torkhum border in Khyber district and Ghulam Khan North Waziristan besides other border points to control spread of the deadly virus. Sher Gul Khan, Chief Planning Officer, Health Department told APP that PTI Govt’s flagship Sehat Insaf Cards (SICs) has been extended to all merged tribal districts under which free treatment up to Rs7,20,000 per patient would be provided in any top Govt or private hospital of Pakistan. “All those tribal families, who did not receive Sehat Insaf Cards up till now, are allowed to get free treatment facilities by showing Computerized ID Cards to the penal hospitals,” Sher Gul said. Cancer and AIDs free treatment programs were also extended to merged tribal districts, he maintained. 

These projects after completion would help minimize burden on major hospitals of KP beside providing affordable and quality health services to all tribal patients at their doorsteps.

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