Govt to give 410 per cent more funds to health sector

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ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to give around 410 per cent more funds to the health sector during the current fiscal year as compared to the amounts given in previous years.

This was revealed at a meeting chaired by federal Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar here on Tuesday.

The meeting was informed that a total of 152 health facilities would be upgraded across the country to ensure provision of quality health services to the people with updated diagnostics, infectious and critical care management capabilities.

Moreover, a fast-track execution and timely completion of the committed projects would be ensured for access and quality of care to the people. The meeting reviewed new and ongoing health schemes that have received federal funding in the current and previous fiscal years.

According to a statement, the government has protected the health sector in budgetary allocations. It is also committed to critical and strategic projects, including stronger health systems, pandemic preparedness and universal health coverage through Sehat Sahulat health protection schemes.

According to the statement, overall Pakistan will be spending 410pc more on the health sector than the funds allocated in previous years.

In the PSDP 2021-22, Rs21.7 billion has been allocated to the Ministry of National Health Services for 40 new and ongoing schemes. This is a 50pc increase from the budget allocated to the ministry last year.

In addition, Rs2bn has been allocated for health projects under the Finance Division, Rs4.4bn for health projects under Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan and Rs2.8bn for health projects under the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, totalling Rs30.9bn committed to improving health services.

Together these 60 health schemes will see ground-breaking of 16 new health facilities and two upgraded projects, completion and inauguration of three new health facilities and 10 upgraded facilities during the current year and completion of 12 new and nine upgraded health facilities in 2023, the statement said.

“These include establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Gynecology and Obstetrics in Rawalpindi, a state-of-the-art Accident and Emergency Centre at PIMS in Islamabad, upgrade of neurology and nephrology departments of PIMS, establishment of polyclinics, a 200-bed hospital in Skardu and a Medical and Nursing College and a Cardiac Hospital in Gilgit and upgrade of the Atomic Energy Commission hospitals in AJK, Karachi, Bahawalpur and Lahore,” the statement added.

Presenting the PSDP portfolio for health, Member Social Sector Dr Shabnum Sarfraz highlighted that within these schemes, Rs3.6bn is earmarked for five provincial projects. She gave a detailed overview of additional allocations of Rs37.96bn made to the provinces during the fiscal year 2021-22 under the Covid-19 Responsive Umbrella PC1 of the Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives on a cost-sharing basis.

This is dedicated to strengthening the infectious disease management and critical care facilities in tehsil and district headquarter hospitals in the four provinces and two regions of the country.

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