RE The Punjab government has proposed allocation of Rs 48.8 billion for the health sector for the fiscal year 2011-12 as against the previous years Rs 42.9 billion, showing an increase of Rs 5.9 billion. The recent increase is 13.75 per cent more than the previous fiscal years allocation for the health sector.
Out of the total allocation, Rs 23.3 billion will be utilised in carrying out development projects under Annual Development Programme 2011-12. Major portion of the increased in health budget will be utilised in meeting the expenditures of special pay package for doctors, nurses and paramedical staff at healthcare centres across the province.
In the ADP, the government has focussed on preventive healthcare and attainment of millennium development goals (MDGs). The focus is on safe blood transfusion service, TB control programme, prevention and control of hepatitis, HIV Aids programme and Punjab Thallesemia Prevention Programme.
The govt has adopted the policy of consolidating the existing health facilities instead of creating new infrastructure. No new basic health units will be established and focus would be on strengthening primary healthcare facilities, up-gradation of THQ and DHQ hospitals, establishment of new DHQ hospitals at Narowal and Bahawalpur and rehabilitation of equipment in secondary care hospitals.
The Punjab govt will establish drug testing labs and food testing labs in Faisalabad and Rawalpindi, establishment of PCR based diagnostic lab and up gradation of drug testing lab in Multan.
The government has already introduced Mobile Health Units (MHUs) to make up for the deficiencies of static coverage in remote areas.
A MHU contains collapsible and non-collapsible diagnostic and invasive and non-invasive electo-medical equipment. Six MHU are already in operation in Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur, Mianwali, DG Khan, Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar. Additional 50 MHUs are to be procured and out of these 20 will be launched during 2011-12.
The government will establish Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology, Institute of Urology and Transplantation Rawalpindi, Institute of Organ Transplant Lahore, Kidney centres at Multan and Bahawakpur, expansion of Multan Institute of Cardiology, expansion of Children Hospital Multan, Fatima Jinnah Institute of Dental Sciences Lahore, burn units at Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and RY Khan and construction of 410 beds hospital at Bahawalpur.
As doctor to population ratio in Punjab is 1:2167 as against the WHO standards of 1:1000, the Punjab government will establish four more medical colleges in Gujranwala, Sialkot, Sahiwal and D G Khan to bridge the gap. School of Nursing at Rawalpindi will be upgraded to degree level besides capacity development and training of nurses and paramedics.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Medical Association have welcomed raise in health budget for the special package for doctors, nurses and paramedics. It advised the provincial government not to waste budget in yellow cab scheme and MHUs and spend the same amount to upgrade the BHUs, RHUs and improve the existing health facilities.