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PPP walkout from Senate

11 March, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Vice President of the PPPP, Senator Sherry Rehman, led the opposition on a walkout over the shameful negligence shown by the government in the Senate. The Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination was unable to give a proper answer to Rehman's concern regarding the health crisis caused by the wide prevalence of substandard blood testing kits in public hospitals.

"With its typical arrogance and negligence, the government is refusing to focus attention in parliament, let alone on the ground of such a critical humanitarian challenge. They are literally trifling with the blood of innocent civilians," Rehman said in her address before the Senate.

Dismayed over the Ministry's response, Rehman said, "It is shocking that the government was unable to give a satisfactory answer on such a vital issue of public importance in the Senate. It seems as if they were neither prepared nor bothered when I called their attention to the scandalous prevalence of substandard blood testing kits even in Islamabad Capital Territory".

The Ministry's casual response prompted uproar in the joint opposition which then chose to stage a walk out.

Citing the case of young siblings who were believed to have contracted HIV through contaminated blood used for their transfusion, she said, "It's a national tragedy that the lives of innocent civilians are jeopardized because of the government's negligence".

Rehman further stated, "The fact that 15 million or every 13th Pakistani is infected with Hepatitis B and C is of no worry to them. The government is showing criminal negligence by ignoring the crisis even in parliament when the question is raised".

It is believed that 60-70% of approximately 3.5 million blood donations in Pakistan are screened through substandard blood testing kits.

On the importance of regulating the quality of kits used by health facilities across the country, Rehman stated, "The substandard Rs.6-7 garage-made blood screening kits are putting millions of Pakistanis in danger. WHO approved kits should be used. It is unfortunate that such a basic form of regulation is missed by the concerned authorities".

"I cannot further emphasize the importance of having comprehensive health policies to ensure the safety of civilians. The opposition's bill on posing penal liabilities to those responsible for causing death or injury caused by unsafe transfusion is still pending, causing a shocking loss of lives as a result," argued Rehman.

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