Punjab govt’s health initiatives: perception vs reality

Making sweeping statements and developing false perceptions is an easy exercise but, real change can only occur when we, as a whole will play constructive part

Over the course of history, how perceptions influenced humans as well as societies has remained a fascinating subject to many thinkers, who have generated diverse opinions on it. Whether someone likes it or not, the fact is that perceptions have always remained a dominating force within a society, and on many occasions it overpowers loads of realities.      

Especially, in a country like Pakistan, this phenomenon picture perfectly explains the negative frame of mind the whole society is clutched in. An apt example of it is Punjab government’s health performance, perception about which is that there is a massive anarchy within the health sector, and things are getting worse with every passing day. 

However, is it true? Let’s find out!

The present Punjab government has ensured availability of healthcare staff by expediting the
induction process through Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), as a result of which 17,434 healthcare staff is hired in the year 2018-2019 that include 14,000 doctors; 2,834 nurses; 300 consultants and 300 Anesthetists.

Then, the Sehat Insaf Cards, which is the flagship project of current Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led Punjab government, are being distributed in 28 Punjab districts under which Rs 720,000 has been allocated per family living below poverty line.

Under mother and child health initiative, five new mother and child hospitals in Mianwali, Layyah, Attock, Rajanpur and Bahawalnagar will be established. The University of Child Health Sciences and Center of Excellence for Mother and Child Care in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Lahore, are the two amazing projects in the pipeline, the completion of which surely would create a revolution in country’s health sector.

Further, under infrastructure development, 195 Basic Health Units (BHUs) have been upgraded into 24/7 BHUs, and 25 District Headquarter Hospitals (DHQs) and 15 Tehsil Headquarter Hospitals (THQs) have also been upgraded. Apart from it, the revamping of emergencies at 12 Tertiary Hospitals and establishment of Mehman Khana are also part of it.

Adding to it, the implementation of ‘School Health & Nutrition Program’ in Public Schools of Punjab is a superb step, under which examination of students in 42,000 public schools in rural areas of Punjab in the next three years will be performed, and students will be referred to the nearest health facility in case of medical issue.

Moreover, an integrated health management system across Punjab has been effectively established, which is making it possible that patients are properly attended at periphery level, and also the purpose is to reduce pressure and improving quality healthcare at tertiary Hospitals.

What's great about all these initiatives is their sustainable nature, as the present regime is keenly focusing on strengthening the provincial health system through effective reforms and proper utilization of resources. Due to these steps, one clearly must make distinction between about what perceptions are made and what realities actually are. As a nation, it is extremely imperative for us to think beyond party politics and must collectively support the existing government in making their vision applicable, as it is ultimately for the betterment of public. Making sweeping statements and developing false perceptions is an easy exercise but, real change can only occur when we, as a whole will play a constructive part.

It is all about thinking positively, and this is where as a nation we need to emphasize the most. To conclude this thought, Lindsay Jean Wagner, a renowned American film and television actress once said, “When we shift our perception, our experience changes.”

The writer has completed MPhil in Mass Communication from Beaconhouse National University, and passionately loves travelling and cricket.

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