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Rasheed Khalid

The News

Published Date: Aug 10, 2011

REFORMS SUFFER DUE TO INCONSISTENCY

HeartFile Islamabad President Dr. Sania Nishter has said that the only thing Pakistan lacks behind in reform programmes is consistency in policy and proper implementation.

She was addressing a seminar on ‘National Healthcare System for Pakistan (NHSP)’ organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

The proposed NHSP consists of an autonomous body, population based distribution of medical facilities and a resource generation plan able to accumulate around Rs324 billion annually.

Dr. Sania said that Pakistan’s healthcare system can better perform with sufficient funding, good governance and transparent and appropriate use of resources. She emphasised the need for re-engineering and restructuring of health system at all levels by introducing innovative approaches.

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi from World Health Organisation, Pakistan, said that Pakistan possessed a good health infrastructure and facilities, but needs innovative work, informed decision-making and creation of centralised data system. He lamented that over the last decade, the GDP ratio of spending on health had been less than 0.6 per cent.

Dr. Nabi identified some priority areas for action including institutional strengthening involving the dual responsibility of WHO by putting greater focus on building the capacity of provinces and health system. Talking of post-devolution scenario, he said it was much-delayed process and should have been implemented much earlier adding that still there were reservations that health should be dealt as a specialised subject and ultimately there would be a need to have a division at federal level to take care of relevant matters as provinces were unclear even until late June about their roles in the health sector.

Dr. Muhammad Saleem from Punjab Institute of Cardiology, Lahore, said that under the new NHSP plan, population based distribution of the health care facilities would ensure to attain the “health for all” goal and to address the rural urban disparities, inadequacies and other barriers to healthcare delivery. He said that the new plan would have other important components such as health management information system, medical courts, Health Accountability Bureau, and Pakistan Medical Council.

Iftikhar Ahmad from SDPI said that the plan envisages each Pakistani pooling a premium of Rs5 per person per day. He enumerated several other sources such as budgetary allocations by federal and provincial governments, payment on service usage, charity, income support programmes and foreign aid. He said that this plan would be able to accumulate Rs324 billion annually to help in reducing the financial barrier to universal healthcare delivery and could possibly provide financial risk protection.