The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination took strict notice of the spread of HIV in Larkana, Sindh in its meeting held on Tuesday.
The Committee was informed that currently a total of 681 cases have been diagnosed out of which 562 are children. According to medical experts most cases were spread through the use of tainted syringes. The main risk groups were identified as IV drug users, transgenders, female sex workers and MSMs. It was asserted that somehow, spread of HIV in Ratodero, Larkana where needle use between the two groups was interchanged.
Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammd Ateeq Shaikh gave directives that to avoid spread of HIV and other diseases use of auto destructible syringes be made mandatory in Pakistan. Resolution was unanimously passed by the Committee in this regard.
While taking note of Twitter statement of Focal Person Polio Eradication Program against Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, who was heading the program in the previous government, Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh said that as Pakistanis all of us try to fulfil our responsibilities at best. He condemned the use of Twitter as a forum to highlight differences. Focal Person Polio Eradication Program under the PM Secretariat, Mr. Babar Bin Atta explained his stance.
Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh said that all of us must think beyond party lines for Pakistan. This was the only way to move ahead, he added.
While discussing challenges of the Polio Eradication Program the Committee was informed that the biggest impediment was that there was no ownership of the program in Pakistan and that after al of these years it was still being viewed as a Pariah entity.
Deliberating over the issue of charging students double insurance fees while he sought to be transferred from one medical college to another, the Committee took strict notice and said that payment of difference is understood but charging a double fee for transfer was unacceptable. Chairman Committee Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh directed PMDC to review the matter thoroughly and provide the Committee with a break-up of charges. He showed concern regarding the share percentage of colleges in this equation.
While discussing details of formation of the Federal Health Regulatory Authority, the Committee was informed that a notification of the nominations of the selection committee under section 6, clause (1) of the Act requires approval for the Federal Government. In this context a summary for the Cabinet is to be submitted.
Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh gave directives that it must be included in the TORs that members must be elected within a month so that pending matters may be addressed at the earliest.
Reviiewing the issue of submission of report of quarterly progress report of accreditations case from level 2 to 3 concerning NIH and DRAP, the Committee was informed that WHO revised the global bench marking tool in 2019. DRAP has now re-summarized its responses in the new computerized Global Benchmarking Tool and submitted to WHO on 16th May, 2019. WHO assessment team will share its response on DRAP’s self assessment during this period. Moreover WHO intends to conduct first audit inspection of DRAP in September, 2019 and second audit visit will be in October, 2019.
While discussing the Point of Public importance raised by Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh regarding Shifa International Hospital, the Committee was informed that this was never a charitable organization and the land acquired for the hospital was not granted by the government but was bought according to market rates at that time.
Chairman Committee, Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh instructed the Hhospital administration to provide details to the Committee, regarding whether or not Shifa International Hospital is a charitable entity and a teaching hospital. Details of MOU with CDA and any other organization were asked for as well.
While deliberating over the case of doctors educated in Afghanistan’s medical colleges the Committee was informed that according to rules they are not allowed to practice in Pakistan, whereas, foreign doctors working with NGOs in Pakistan are granted NOCs to practice in Pakistan. They are also give PG permission. The Committee gave directives to PMDC to curb issuance of NOCs until this matter is resolved. It also gave instructions for preparatory classes to be conducted so that Pakistani doctors with international degrees may be prepared for tests mandatory for practice in Pakistan at nominal rates.
Chaired by Senator MIan Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh, the meeting was attended amongst others by Senator Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, Prof. Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, Senator Dr. Asad Ashraf, Senator Dr. Sikandar Mandhro, Senator Liaqat Khan Tarakai and senior officers from the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Services along with all concerned.