Karachi: The Sindh government has decided to arrest the transfer of three key Karachi hospitals including the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) and the National Institute of Child Health (NICH) to the federal government until the Supreme Court of Pakistan decides on a review petition filed by the provincial government. They requested Senator Raza Rabbani to file an immediate application before the apex court for the urgent hearing of the matter.
“The Sindh government has already filed a review petition before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and it has asked Senator Raza Rabbani to apply for the urgent hearing of the petition immediately. Till then, it has been decided to halt the transfer of JPMC, NICVD and NICH under federal control,” stated an official of the Sindh Government.
The Federal Minister of National Health Services, Regulation and Control announced to assume control of Sindh’s three major hospitals including JPMC, NICVD and NICH as well as all their components, assets and workforce through a notification issued on May 22nd, 2019. This attracted sharp criticism from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Sindh government.
Pakistan People’s Party, Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, also criticized the Federal government for ‘snatching’ three major hospitals from the Sindh government, saying that the provincial government had spent billions of rupees since the devolution of power to upgrade health services at these hospitals and spread their network and services to all of Sindh. He vowed that the people of Sindh would not let the Federal government ruin these health facilities by assuming their control.
Officials in the Sindh government said both the PPP leadership as well as the provincial government was highly perturbed over a notification issued by the federal health ministry regarding assuming control of three hospitals. It was decided in principle that the transfer of these facilities would be delayed until the Supreme Court of Pakistan hears a review petition filed by the provincial government.
“Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, is also flying to Islamabad and during his visit, he would take up this matter with the Federal Advisor Health, Dr Zafar Mirza, and other officials in the centre,” said the provincial government official. The PPP led provincial government has decided to mobilize all the resources at its disposal to retain control of the three tertiary-care health facilities, he added.
It was learnt that the Sindh Chief Secretary also prepared a letter addressing the federal government, including the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Control, on the subject. Through the letter, the federal authorities would be intimated to wait till the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on a review petition filed by the Sindh government.
On the other hand, rejecting the Federal government’s notification regarding assuming control of the NICVD, JPMC and NICH, Sindh’s young doctors observed a ‘black-day’ at all the tertiary-care health facilities in the province by wearing black armbands and vowed to continue protest till the Federal government withdraws its notification without any delay.
The young doctors said that the federal government was facing an acute shortage of resources, and even their own officials were puzzled as to how they would allocate financial and material resources to run these hospitals effectively. He added that this move by the PTI-led federal government would adversely affect service delivery at these hospitals and increase the sufferings of patients in the province.
“The Young Doctors Association (YDA) Sindh strongly condemns the notification sent out by the Federal government regarding the restoration of the Federal status of the JPMC, NICVD and NICH. We term it as an anti-health and anti-patient move. We believe that this move by the PTI-led federal government would result in poor service delivery at these hospitals and cause suffering to the poor patients of the Sindh province”, said Dr Mehboob Ali Nonari, General Secretary of the YDA, Sindh.
The young doctors warned that they were ready for a long struggle to prevent these major hospitals from going under Federal control, saying that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government had already failed to run tertiary-care hospitals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab and now it was planning to privatize these facilities as well. He added that the PTI would not be allowed to deprive the people of Sindh of quality health facilities.
“These hospitals including the JPMC, NICH and NICVD are providing quality healthcare services to the people of Sindh as well as other provinces free of charge while in KP and Punjab, PTI led governments are planning to privatize the health facilities. We would not let them do that in Sindh,” announced General Secretary, YDA Sindh.