Staff Reporter Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza has stressed the need to address the issues of rapidly increasing population on priority basis. Addressing the concluding session of Health Conference titled “Building Bridges For Better Healthcare” in Karachi on Sunday, he said Pakistan has 2.4 per cent population growth which is one of the highest in Asia.Dr Zafar Mirza has said that three major hospitals of the port city will be under administrative control of the federal government in a few months. The hospitals include the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and the National Institute of Child Health (NICH). Dr Zafar Mirza said the federal authorities have been holding consultations with the Sindh government on a smooth transfer of these hospitals’ control to the Centre. He said powers devolved to the provinces under 18th constitutional amendment need to trickle down to lower tiers of administration at the district level. Dr Zafar stressed the need for tackling health issues under a national emergency. Last year in July, the federal government had handed the ownership of the hospitals back to the provincial government. The centre had taken control of the port city’s three major hospitals in May following Supreme Court orders. SC in its judgment had given the control of the three major public sector hospitals – NICVD, JPMC and NICH – to the federal government. The court had given 90 days to provincial and federal governments for a smooth transition of the hospital’s control. The federal cabinet in a session had approved transfer of the administrative control of these hospitals to the centre. The Sindh government had filed a review petition in the SC, seeking the reversal of the court’s verdict and permission for it to run the hospitals. The provincial government and the health institutions had approached the court with a claim that since the subject of health had been devolved to the provinces under the 18th Amendment, the management of the JPMC, NICVD and NICH also vested with the Sindh government. The apex court had rejected the Sindh government’s plea in January 2019.