Sep 03 - 09, 2007

International donors would provide US $270 million grant for the elimination of TB, Polio and HIV/ AIDS out of which US $62 million be spent for the eradication of TB from the country.

According to the Punjab Minister for Health, Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal, the provincial government was attaching highest priority to health and education and the budgetary allocations for health sector had been enhanced by 50% while additional resources were provided to accelerate the efforts for prompt achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), whereas, the major focus is on protecting the health of people through strengthening of Primary Health Care & Disease Preventive Programmes.

He further said that Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) aims at reducing morbidity, disabilities & mortality caused by seven vaccine preventable diseases namely Childhood Tuberculosis, Poliomyelitis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Measles, Neonatal tetanus & Hepatitis-B by vaccinating all children below one year of age, in addition, all pregnant women are vaccinated against tetanus. The priority targets of the programme are polio eradication followed by elimination of Neonatal Tetanus & Measles, he added.

He aid the health department was successfully running EPI and GAVI programmes to save the children from preventable diseases and last year EPI coverage remained 81 percent in the province. He appealed to the Ulema to come forward and help the government to create awareness among public against the fatal diseases and to persuade the parents for the success of EPI. He stated that TB DOTs programme is being implemented in 35 districts in Punjab and the chest specialist at the DHQs and a designated medical officer at the THQs were responsible for carrying out DOTs related activities.

He said that government was taking concrete steps for the complete eradication of TB and medicines worth Rs. one billion were being distributed among the patients of TB free of cost in the small districts of the province.

Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal further said that modem and well equipped trauma centers are being established at those DHQs nearest to the motorway/highways. Necessary funds have been allocated for the up-gradation and establishment of trauma centers at DHQs as well as posting of surgeons/consultants and other required medical staff at DHQs.

He said that Rs. 85 million had been allocated for the establishment of trauma center at DHQ hospital Sheikhupura, whereas Rs. 45 million have been spent for the construction of 3-storey building of the trauma center.

He said that the Punjab government is upgrading DHQ/THQ hospitals and RHCs by posting specialist doctors besides making BHUs functional for the provision of modern facilities to the rural masses and providing tertiary care medical facilities at the DHQ level hospitals in the province.

The Minister said that necessary grant/funds are being provided to the DHQ hospitals for the up-gradation of their labs. He added that besides provision of free of cost medicines, emergency services at all provincial public sector hospitals were being improved to the optimum level and Rs. two billion had been provided to the teaching hospitals for strengthening the emergency medical services.

He said uplifting of healthcare facilities and promotion of education was the top priority of the present government, whereas, the government on the directions of Chief Minister Punjab has offered special salary package to doctors and consultants to be posted at THQs/RHCs and BHUs to improve their socio-economic status and provide them proper working conditions in rural areas.