KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has said that USAID’s $241 million programmes, such as Sindh Basic Education Programme (SBEP), Municipal Services Delivery Programme (MSDP) and Jacobabad Institute of Medical Sciences (JIMS), are in progress in Sindh.
Talking to John Hoover, the deputy chief of the Mission US Embassy Islamabad, and Grace Shelton, US Consul General in Karachi, at the Chief Minister’s House on Monday, the chief minister said that he has already declared an emergency in the education and health sectors while special focus was being given to improve municipal services.
USAID has made some important interventions and he is personally monitoring them so that targeted population of the province can take benefit from the schemes, he said.
During the meeting, the chief minister and US visiting diplomats reviewed the progress of the schemes launched with the grant from the USAID.
It may be noted here that since 2011, USAID in a partnership with the provincial government has been implementing the SBEP for $165 million, including $10 million the Sindh government share.
Through this partnership, the SBEP improves the quality and access to education for children in Sindh by increasing and sustaining student enrollment at the primary, middle, and secondary school levels. The programme is being implemented in seven districts of northern Sindh and five towns of Karachi.
The chief minister said that for the implementation and management of the programme, a Programme Management and Implementation Unit (PMIU), has been established in the School Education Department. It comprises of four sections, such as construction management, learning reforms and community mobilization, back office services, and planning, monitoring, and evaluation.
Murad elaborated that major components of the SBEP include building of 106 new schools with1400 classrooms in flood-affected and other areas. Improvement of reading and numeracy skills of 750,000 children over five years, engaging up to 400 communities in the construction, operation and maintenance of schools over five years and establish effective public/private partnerships to manage these schools and ensure enrollment of at least 100,000 girls.
Murad Ali Shah said that major targets of the programme are to increase knowledge and professional skills of 25,000 primary school teachers, particularly in Reading and Mathematics. It also aimed at providing non-formal educational opportunities to 100,000 out-of-school children to enable 50,000 to transit to formal schools, he said.
USAID has invested $10 million in establishing JIMS and expanded access to quality health care services for the residents of Jacobabad- Sindh and Balochistan. JIMS is a 133 beds hospital which offers outpatient treatment, emergency and diagnostic facilities as well as specialized services in mother and childhood center, intensive care unit and surgical facilities.
The meeting was told that the hospital was functioning properly but there are some issues which are being looked after by the chief minister personally. The US diplomats said that they were launch more schemes under the USAID for the people of Sindh.