Reforms in health dept proposed

ABBOTTABAD: The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has prepared policy recommendations for health sector reforms in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

This was stated during a policy dialogue on health sector reforms, held on Tuesday in Abbottabad Press Club. People from different walks of life, including civil society and political activists, participated in the dialogue.

CPDI resource person Syed Kausar Abbas claimed that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government still had no health policy to implement at grass-roots level. He said that despite invitations to health minister Shahram Khan, members of standing committee and other officials, no one bothered to attend the dialogue.

Mr Abbas said that the provincial government had now been working as an independent entity after the 18th amendment, but still it was unable to design a policy at the provincial level.

He said that CPDI had prepared the policy recommendations with the consultation of all stakeholders, including public officials working at district and provincial level for health, education, food and agriculture sector reforms in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

About the health recommendations, he said that the provincial government needed to bring improvement in health sector in three areas so as to address administrative and fiscal issues, policy and advocacy-related issues, and legislative considerations. All these targeted areas of improvements have been discussed in the light of changed environment after 18th amendment.

They areas which needed attention are management of vertical programme, health education regulation, drug regulation and provincial policy and planning, etc so that the health department could be restructured.

Priority should be given to the creation of policy and planning wing to focus on the strategic and creative aspects of health management in the province. This restructuring will lead to re-allocation of resources from low density to high-density work areas. This will also initiate readjustment of employees from one section to other. A gradual restructuring is proposed with high priority areas taking the lead.

It was further demanded that provincial government should prepare policy documents in specific areas related to its various functions. The department should be creative in its approach to realise not only the existing requirements but also the demands that may come up in the near future.

Some of the policy areas are health and education policy, public-private partnership, health service delivery standards, management of professional bodies, health regulatory functions and private medical colleges.

Participants of the dialogue called for legislation and revision of existing legislation, which was earlier done at the federal level. They said that the federal laws needed to be amended or replaced with new legislation in accordance with the demands of the province.

Some of the existing laws which needed urgent revision include Poisons Act, 1919; Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930; Drugs and Medicines (Indemnity) Act, 1957; Pharmacy Act, 1967; NWFP Juvenile Smoking Ordinance, 1959; NWF Prohibition of Smoking Ordinance, 1960; Cigarettes (Printing of Warning) Ordinance, 1979; Prohibition of Smoking Ordinance, 2002; Allopathic System Ordinance, 1962; Yunani, Ayurvedic and Homeopathic Practitioners Act, 1965; National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases Act, 1979; National Institute of Health Ordinance, 1980; Transfusion of Safe Blood Ordinance, 2002; and Injured Persons (Medical Aid) Act, 2004.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2014

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