KARACHI: Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Centre and Sindh Doctors Ittehad (SDI) on Saturday rejected Sindh health budget for financial year 2018-19 as they said that no specific funds had been allocated for preventive side, strengthening primary health care system, provision of potable water, controlling corruption and rise in doctors salaries on the patron of other provinces.
PMA Secretary General Dr SM Qaisar Sajjad, while talking to media, termed the health budget as traditional like previous years as Sindh government had not increased health budget as per World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for six percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said PMA had been demanding allocation of more budget for preventive side instated on the curative side to save people from malaria, dengue, chikungunya, Zika virus, hepatitis A, E, typhoid, gastroenteritis, cholera and oral cancer. He said Sindh’s public health sector has been given a boost by increasing 13 per cent in the annual budget for fiscal year 2018-19. He informed government had allocated Rs 96.38 billion for health sector as compared to Rs 85.3 billion during the 2017-18.
Sindh health department had outsourced 1210 health facilities including dispensaries, basic health units, rural health centres, MCH Centres along with Taluka Headquarters (THQ) Hospital and District Headquarter (DHQ)Hospitals in past few years but no significant improvement had yet been seen in the primary sector so far, he said.
Dr Qaisar urged the policymakers to utilize more budget on the primary health sector and preventive side to make society disease-free; otherwise, the dream of bringing improvement in health sector could not come true by enhancing health budget each year.
PMA’s senior leader Dr Mirza Ali Azhar said that all provincial governments lacked vision and capacity to run health facilities devolved into provinces after the passage of 18th Amendment of the Constitution. He said there were no sustainable policies in Pakistan, particularly in Sindh province.