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Event Title: Senator Muhammad Hamayun Mohmand, Chairman Senate Standing Committee On National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Presiding Over a Meeting of the Committee at NIH, Chak Shahzad, Islamabad

Event Date: 2023-06-14

The Senate National Health Committee on Wednesday in its first session made an on-ground visit to Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP ) Lab Chak Shehzad, Islamabad and received briefing by the officials of the NCLB ,and DRAB on various budget related concerns regarding up gradation of labs. It was briefed by the NCLB officials that due to various government restrictions the NCLB had difficulties obtaining funds to improve its facilities and operations. It was apprised by the CEO DRAP Asim Rauf that funds of 60 million remained un-utilised since a year due to certain legal hinges in the funds only to be utilised by Central Research. The Special Secretary Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination said that the changes have being made in the mechanism of utilisation of funds and summary is awaited for approval at the CCL.

The committee raised serious concerns on the absence of the generator due to power outage which is resulting in medicine and vaccines to turn into poison and not fit for use due to temperature fluctuations. The CEO DRAP apprised the committee that a wiring of 400 KVA is required to address the issue of generator and wirings. The committee inquired on the composition and working of the policy board and remarked that the policy board has went in slumber on such negligence and called it a criminal offence. The committee directed the ministry to immediately convene a meeting with the policy board and take final decision on completion of the issue of power outrage and procurement of generator within 7 days and give report on priority basis. Senator Asad Ali Khan Junejo recommended to communicate with the Ministry of Power to immediately stop power outrage in the area. Senator Junejo also sought record of the discarded vaccines which are expired due to irregularities in temperature. The Commitee was informed by DRAP that the vaccines in-stored here are only testing vaccines and are not used on patients. The chairman committee inquired on the system for monitoring of the temperature and what measures are taken if the temperature gets low, to which the DRAP representative failed to answer. The committee showed serious concerns on working of the DRAP and lamented the future if such negligence prevails  .

It was briefed by the officials of the National Control Laboratory for Biologicals that DRAP has enchanced its testing facilities including animal testing for general safety test, bacterial Endotoxin testing by LAL method, Gel Electrophoresis ( Agarose) for identification, particular counter for visible and sub-visible particle count for clarity and adulteration, osmolality test, PH testing and ELISA for potency and identification test. It was also apprised that NCLB has become associate member of WHO-NNB as Pakistan recipient of UN-procured vaccines. It was briefed that presently the lab is at level II and is expected to be listed authority level II by WHO. It as briefed that DRAP is also seeking accreditation of ISO/IEC 17025. Senator Rubina Khalid inquired on the question of International  Certification on drugs to which it was apprised that DRAP has not been given International Certification as yet.On the matter of strengthening of Human Resource and Capacity the committee recommended not to make any further inductions and outsource the vacancies or only induct on contract basis 

 The committee in the 2nd-phase made an on-site visit to the Federal General Hospital and inspected various wards. The chairman committee lamented that the 200 bedded hospital spread over an area of 22 canals is being wasted due to non availability of surgeons and specialists. It was observed that the staff being recruited for the hospital transfers on deputation to poly clinic or PIMS hospital using political influences. The committee directed the ministry not to make any further deputations of Doctors specified for the Federal General Hopsital. The hospital is allocated budget of 298 million for the fiscal year 2022-23 and entertains 376 sanctioned posts. The committee while visiting the maternity ward observed 100 pc occupancy. It was also apprised that operations related to appendix are also performed here however the Committee noted that an ICU is missing which is a great lapse in case of emergency. The committee also noted that the emergency department lacks various equipments like snake bite etc and said that inadequate services are available the hospitals being the only Federal Government Hospital in rural Islamabad. The chairman committee iterated that the hospital should not be only a tertiary care rather be optimised in a way that it becomes the best model of a secondary care unit.

The committee while making visits to different wards observed there is no ventilation system leading to accumulation of germs. It was also observed that the air conditioners were also not present which is again a great lapse in a hosipital specially for wounded patients

It was briefed that the hospital is providing round the clock free of cost service to the General Public, the hospital is providing laboratory and radiological diagnostic facility, the hospital has two operation theatres (one major - one minor ). It was apprised that services are provided free of charge in the hospital without any token / purchase fees. Facility of immunisation of children and females of child bearing age and facility of polio vaccination for international travels is also available.  The committee also briefed the committee on challenges being faced, it was apprised that there is a non availability of NICU and shortage of anesthesia doctors which is crucial to the environment of Islamabad.

The meeting was attended by Senators Fawzia Arshad, Rubina Khalid, Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar, Asad Ali Khan Junejo, and Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen. Senior officials from the Ministry of Health, CEO DRAP and other officials of related department were also in attendance.