Punjab revolutionises health sector

IF other provinces do a fraction of what the Punjab government has done in the health sector during the last four years, the entire health landscape would have changed in the country. Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, who has a reputation of doer and achiever, has modelled health facilities on modern line and as a result treatment of most of the diseases is now available at the doorsteps of the citizens.
The Punjab government started work in the health sector by radically improving working and service delivery at all government hospitals and basic health units and now a multitude of initiatives have been launched jacking up budgetary allocations for health to all time high Rs 263b this year. Hepatitis is known as a killer disease and recent studies indicate that every tenth Pakistani suffers from some sort of Hepatitis. The most serious are Hepatitis-B & C and their treatment was beyond the reach of majority of the patients. Punjab government has introduced an innovative scheme under which patients of Hepatitis-B & C can register themselves through toll free Health Line and the provincial government delivers the medicines for treatment free of cost through courier service. This scheme alone would definitely save thousands of lives and make a big difference as far as treatment of these diseases is concerned. Similarly, ambulance service for expecting mothers is made available on a telephone call while EPI coverage has been expanded from 62 to 82% of children. Free dialysis service is available in most of the hospitals and two thousand beds have been added to existing hospitals. Over 2500 BHUs and 315 rural health centres have been re-organised at a cost of Rs 1.2b besides availability of ultrasound facilities at 103 BHUs. One hundred mobile health units have been operationalized and 20 new CT scan machines procured for government hospitals at district level. Apart from streamlining emergency treatment, which is considered a model in the country, service structure of doctors has also been improved. We hope that these and many other similar initiatives would also be replicated by other provincial governments to ensure qualitative improvement in healthcare.

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