The federal Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives, Asad Umar, has made a detailed review of the new and ongoing health schemes that received federal funding in the current and previous fiscal year.
He discussed this in a high-level policy review meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday.
While continuing to face the pandemic crisis, the government has protected health in the budgetary allocations and is committed to critical and strategic projects, including stronger health systems, pandemic preparedness, and universal health coverage through the Sehat Sahulat health protection schemes.
Overall, Pakistan will spend 410 percent more in the current year than the previous years of the health budget. This is also thrice the amount of the total amount spent on health in the last three years.
An amount of Rs. 21.7 billion has been allocated to the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation, and Coordination for 40 new and ongoing schemes in the current year’s PSDP 2021-2022. This is a 50 percent increase from the budget allocated to the ministry last year.
Additionally, two billion rupees have been allocated to health projects under the Finance Division; 4.4 billion rupees to health projects under Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan; and 2.8 billion rupees to health projects under the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, the sum of which is Rs. 30.9 billion committed to improved health services for the people of Pakistan.
Together these 60 health schemes will be involved in the ground-breaking of 16 new health facilities and two up-gradation projects, the completion and inauguration of three new health facilities, 10 upgraded facilities in the current year, and the completion of 12 new and nine upgraded health facilities in 2023.
These include the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Gynecology and Obstetrics in Rawalpindi, a state-of-the-art Accident and Emergency Centre at PIMS Islamabad, the Upgradation of the Neurology and Nephrology Departments of PIMS, the Establishment of Polyclinics, a 200-bed hospital in Skardu, a Medical and Nursing College and a Cardiac Hospital in Gilgit, and the up-gradation of atomic energy commission hospitals in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Karachi, Bahawalpur, and Lahore.
While presenting the PSDP Portfolio for Heath, Member Social Sector Dr. Shabnum Sarfraz highlighted that Rs. 3.6 billion has been earmarked for five provincial projects from these projects. She gave a detailed overview of the additional allocations of Rs. 37.96 billion made to the provinces in FY 2021-2022 under the COVID-19 Responsive Umbrella PC1 of the Ministry of Planning Development & Special Initiatives on a cost-sharing basis.
This is dedicated to strengthening the infectious disease management and critical care facilities in the tehsil and district headquarter hospitals in the four provinces and two regions of the country.
Funding was also provided to improve the public health surveillance system across the country. Under this umbrella scheme, Rs. 5.02 billion of federal funding has been allocated to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to support the up-gradation of 19 DHQs across 19 districts.
An allocation of Rs. 10.41 billion will support 16 DHQs, 23 THQs, and four teaching hospitals across 21 districts in Sindh.
Punjab received Rs. 19.59 billion worth of federal funds for the up-gradation of six DHQs and eight THQs across 11 districts.
An amount of Rs. 2.94 billion was allocated to Balochistan to strengthen 32 hospitals. Additional funding of Rs. 4.87 billion has been committed by the federal government exclusively for the less developed districts of South Balochistan.
Gilgit-Baltistan’s share of Rs. 1.6 billion will support the up-gradation of 10 DHQs in 10 districts, and Rs 1.1 billion to AJK will support the up-gradation of 10 DHQs, 10 THQs, and four teaching hospitals in 10 districts.
Overall, a total of 152 health facilities will be upgraded across Pakistan to ensure the delivery of last-mile quality health services with updated diagnostics, infectious, and critical care management capabilities to people.
Under the COVID-19 responsive federal funding, provincial governments will also strengthen their early warning, disease surveillance, and response systems; establish public health laboratory networks; and bolster the preparedness and capacities of the international Points of Entry. The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination has been allocated an amount of Rs. 4.5 billion to support this.
While the Government of Pakistan is continuing its overhaul of the public sector health system, backing the structure and services with the highest funding in the history of Pakistan, the minister has also advised for the fast-track execution and timely completion of the committed projects so that the access to and quality of care for people are ensured, and the commitments made are honored.