The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination was held on Thursday, the 28st January, 2021 at 11.00 a.m. in the Parliament House under the Chairpersonship of Senator Khusbakht Shujat.
The meeting was attended by Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, Senator Sana Jamali, Senator Dr. Sikander Mandhro, Senator Dr. Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, Senator Muhammad Dilawar Khan. Dr. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination and senior officers of the Ministry and other relevant departments also attended the meeting.
The meeting commenced with consideration of the “Prevention and Control of the Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020”, moved by Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi in the Senate on 26th October, 2020 which was passed unanimously. The Committee opined that this was a futuristic bill and will be extremely beneficial for the whole country.
While being briefed by Dr. Faisal Sultan about the Government’s COVID-19 vaccination plan to ensure equitable access to the vaccine; the Committee was assured that all arrangements are in place and the vaccine will be available in Pakistan hopefully in the coming week. The Committee was informed that a system had been formulated in collaboration with NADRA to ensure that everyone has access to the vaccine. The process will begin with frontline healthcare workers and will proceed to senior citizens more than 65 years of age who are at high risk. In this regard all efforts have been done, he added. Procurement of vaccine will be made through vaccine companies directly and by COVAX also which is the global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access for all countries, Dr. Sultan asserted that 20 percent of the population will be covered through it.
Chairperson Committee, raised concerns regarding rumour mongering against the vaccine, she said that an awareness campaign to counter this narrative is essential. Dr. Faisal Sultan informed the Committee that the campaign was ready and would be launched in line with the administering of the vaccine.
Discussing the issue of equivalency certificates to Dr. Ali Shamim Attaullah (PMDC Registration 5235) and Dr. Basma Ali (PMDC Registration 5232) raised by Senator Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani; Dr. Faisal Sultan assured the members that the matter will be placed before the concerned committee for review.
The Chairperson showed grave displeasure regarding the state of affairs at Federal Government Poly Clinic, Islamabad. She said that it is essential that female staff is employed to ensure that women are given proper services and that they are comfortable at the Hospital. She directed that appropriate measures must be taken and that the Committee will visit the hospital soon.
Taking up starred question of vacant positions of medical and para-medical staff raised by Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh; the Committee took strong notice of vacant seats; despite extensive workload and under-staffing in hospitals. The Committee directed the Ministry to make all out efforts for urgent recruitment of staff against the available vacancies in all the hospitals.