Health neglected again with only Rs23.94b

ISLAMABAD Contrary to tall claims of the present Government with regard to putting Health Sector on its top priority agenda, this important sector got a meagre share of Rs 23.94 billion in the budgetary allocation for the fiscal year 2010-11. Under the Public Sector Development Programmes (PSDP), Rs 16.94 billion have been allocated. The budgetary allocation for the 71 ongoing schemes under PSDP stood at Rs 14.676 billion and Rs 2.268 billion have been allocated for new 11 schemes. Under the new schemes, the major chunk of budgetary allocation has been given to the Health System Strengthening and Policy Programme that is Rs 1.409 billion, while the second major allocation goes to Bannu Medical College and up-gradation of DHQ Hospital, Swabi, that is Rs 246 million. Whereas Rs 14 million have been proposed in PSDP 2010-11 for nutrition related activities. Rs 2.716 billion have been allocated for the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, Controls of Diarrhoeal Disease, aiming at immunising 8.5 million children and 25 million packets of Oral Re-hydration would be distributed. Under the non-development expenditures, Rs 7 billion would be provided, which is 12.3 percent higher when compared with estimates of 2009-2010. According to an independent health expert, budgetary allocations for Health Sector is equal to peanuts, as instead of increasing the budgetary allocation for this important sector, the Government has allocated more or less the same amount which is nothing as compared to the increasing demands of this sector. It is a fact that public health expenditure must be raised up to two percent of the GDP by the year 2015 if we want to achieve Millennium Development Goals, he added. He was of the view that Governments performance in Health Sector was not satisfactory. He added that there had been poor performance in reduction of child mortality rate including mortality rate among children less than five years and infant mortality rate. It is worth mentioning here that an amount of Rs 23 billion was provided under PSDP 2009-10 for the health sector and due to financial crunch the allocation was reduced to Rs 18 billion. Rs 6.5 billion were utilised against the release of Rs 7.2 billion. The balance amount will be fully utilised by June 2010.

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