LAHORE– Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid said on Tuesday that Punjab government has taken revolutionary steps for provision of healthcare services to people. The Minister was addressing participants and media at a Roadshow organized by the Punjab health Foundation at Emerson College Multan.
Present on the occasion were Additional Chief Secretary South Punjab Zahid Akhtar Zaman, Secretary Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department Barrister Nabeel Awan, Secretary Health South Punjab Ajmal Bhatti, MD Punjab Health Foundation Dr. Kiran Khurshid, Members Punjab Assembly Qasim Khan, Wasif Mazhar, Mohammad Salim, Tariq Abdullah, Ejaz Hassan Janjua, Chairman PHA Multan, Professor Javed Chaudhry and large number of local notables.
She said that all the 22 million families of Punjab shall be provided Sehat Sahulat cards by the end of the year 2021. Private sector shall be facilitated with provision of loans. She said Nawaz Sharif was declared an absconder by the Court and he must come back to the country as per his commitment and face legal proceedings.
The Health Minister said, “Within the current fiscal year, Sehat Sahulat Cards shall be distributed among all families in Sahiwal and Dera Ghazi Khan Divisions. So far 42 per cent coverage has been provided in these two Divisions. We have allocated Rs. 40 billion for facilitation through private sector and development projects are underway at full pace in South Punjab. In Dera Ghazi Khan, work is ongoing at Cardiology Hospital. Funds shall be released soon for the expansion project of Multan Institute of Cardiology. Providing top quality healthcare services to every citizen is the responsibility of the government. Sehat Sahulat Progam is a large program and its initial cost is around Rs. 40 billion. Phase-wise, entire population shall be provided health coverage. Last year, the government had earmarked Rs. 14 billion for free diagnosis and treatment facilities for Corona Pandemic. The Pandemic situation has been comparatively better in Punjab and the reason is timely measures to increase beds and ventilators in Punjab hospitals.”
Dr. Yasmin Rashid further said, “There were many development projects which got affected and were delayed due to Corona Pandemic. The federal government has promised to grant us additional support of Rs. 20 to 22 billion to complete them in time. Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar want to provide best possible healthcare services to people of the province. Development work at Nishter-II Multan, Cardiology Hospital Dera Ghazi Khan, 200 bedded hospital at Rajanpur and Mother and Child Hospital at Bahawalnagar are underway at full pace. Through Punjab Health Foundation, loans are being provided to health professionals so that they can make good quality livelihood. The limit of loan amount has been increased with easy conditions. The government shall facilitate and encourage private doctors registered with Pakistan Medical Association. We will face all health challenges collectively as people are with us.”
The Health Minister said the Parliamentarians attending this event shall spread the message of free healthcare services in their constituencies. “I salute our doctors, nurses and healthcare staff for rendering immense services during the Corona Pandemic. All leading countries of the world have appreciated Prime Minister for effectively leading the response during the Corona Pandemic. I appreciate MD Punjab Health Foundation Dr. Kiran Khurshid for organizing a successful Roadshow. The Punjab Health Foundation has been providing loans to healthcare professionals for the last two decades. Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted us to lay extra focus on Human Resource and the PHF has been mobilized for this very purpose. So far more than 32,000 healthcare have been hired purely on merit which include 500 male nurses and 400 pharmacists.”
The Health Minister also visited the site of the Nishter Hospital where Vice-Chancellor apprised her of the progress on development work.
Later responding to queries of the journalists, the Health Minister said that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was declared an absconder by the court. He must come back and face his cases. His bail extension was to be given according to his medical reports. She added had the government received his reports in time, the medical board would have assessed them properly. She added his ‘guarantor was still with us’.
Secretary Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Barrister Nabeel Awan said that next one year was the crucial outcome of health reforms. He said the government shall ensure provision of Universal Health coverage to all families in Punjab.
He added this was an ideal opportunity for the private sector to grow. Additional Chief Secretary South Punjab Zahid Akhtar Zaman said that Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid had provided fresh life to Punjab Health Foundation. The holding of a Roadshow and inauguration of different development schemes were historical milestones.
Earlier, in her remarks, MD Punjab Health Foundation Dr. Kiran Khurshid welcomed the Health Minister and paid tribute to her for providing a number for facilities to healthcare professionals.— HANDOUT