The acute shortage of financial resources and fiscal space, the federal government has decided in principle to hand over administrative and financial control of three hospitals in Karachi and one in Lahore to the respective provincial governments. This was announced on Saturday by Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Control.
Federal Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation, and Control had assumed the administrative control of three major Karachi hospitals that included National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases; Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and National Institute of Child Health, Karachi, as well as Shaikh Zayed Medical Institute, Lahore, in May this year, following the directives from Supreme Court of Pakistan. Yet, no monetary allocation was made in the financial budget for these hospitals.
Sindh’s chief minister said on Monday that the federal government’s decision to hand over Karachi’s three major hospitals back to the provincial administration was a testament to his narrative.
The Attorney General of Pakistan would soon approach the Supreme Court of Pakistan and urge the Apex court to review its decision regarding these four health facilities.
On January 16, 2019, the Supreme Court of Pakistan declared Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre (JPMC). National Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases (NICVD) National Institute of Child Health (NICH), Shaikh Zaid Medical Complex Lahore (SZMC) and National Museum of Pakistan, Karachi (NMP) a part of the federal government. It called their devolution to provinces unconstitutional, without lawful authority, and of no legal effect and all the orders, directions issued having also no legal status.
The court had given 90 days to provincial and federal governments for a smooth transition of the hospitals’ control. The deadline given by the court ended in mid-April.
Sindh government had also filed a review petition in the Supreme Court; seeking the reversal of the court’s verdict and permission to run the hospitals.
The Sindh government had been running the three hospitals with special attention towards them since 2010, when the health sector was declared a provincial subject after the passage of the 18th Amendment, until 2016 when the Sindh High Court ordered the Sindh government to hand over the control to the federal government on a petition by their employees.
Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah vowed to use all forums to resist the Centre’s move to take over the three major hospitals and also moved a review petition in the Supreme Court after the court rejected their appeal and the authorities in Islamabad notified the takeover of the three hospitals.
NICVD caters to the cardiovascular needs of a vast majority of patients from all over Pakistan as well as patients from neighbouring countries. It is responsible for training the bulk of local cardiac physicians, nurses, and paramedics across the country.
Besides Chest Pain Units, nine Satellite Centers were also working free of cost at Civil Hospital Larkana, Sehwan, Tando Muhammad Khan, Sukkur, Khairpur, Nawabshah, Mithi, Ghotki, and Hyderabad. They are now working with the full support of the Sindh government. Sindh is getting well-organized, free-of-cost benefits from NICVD.
The NICVD now has a very vast network free of cost in the province of Sindh by getting a budget worth billions from Sindh government. Poor people are really praying and credit goes to PPP and the Government Sindh.
We welcome the decision of Federal Government, and it’s the endorsement of the just stance by Bilawal Bhutto. Hopefully, the PPP Government will continue with their expansion to other districts. The model deserves applaud for targeting off-the-capital areas. Also, the Sindh government must focus on other health facilities, which are the first contact of the public. The party can claim the real success when its very health facility from taulka dispensary to tehsil, district and divisional level hospitals are exemplary and patient-friendly.