Elements involve in food adulteration, spurious drugs, substandard and bogus agriculture medicines will be severely penalized
The PML-N led Punjab government is spending billions of rupees to provide quality healthcare to people through a comprehensive program by activating rural and basic health centers and in this kind the first-ever international standard model drug testing laboratory of the country has been made functional in Punjab while work is underway for forming a Kidney Institute and Surgical Tower.
The Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has also announced the establishing of Punjab Forensic Food & Drug Testing Agency and said that it would help eliminate substandard and adulterated food besides spurious drugs and agriculture medicines and spray. The agency would work as a totally independent and autonomous institution and would be free of all kind of interference.
Shahbaz Sharif said that with the inauguration of the model drug testing laboratory, the foundation of a new system had been laid in the province which would be expanded expeditiously. He said that such a system was being introduced in the country which would ensure stern punishment to the elements involve in food adulteration besides those involved in spurious drugs, substandard and bogus agriculture medicines. He said the mafia involved in playing with human lives through spurious and substandard medicines would be rooted out through deterrent punishment. He said that foundation of a new system had been laid with the setting up of the state-of-the-art model drug testing laboratory in Lahore.
He said that an international standard drug testing laboratory had been established to eradicate substandard and spurious medicines trade with latest computerized equipment and machinery had been installed in the laboratory. He said that medicines samples would be acquired and analyzed in the laboratory in accordance with international standard as the purpose of this model drug testing laboratory was to improve the standard of medicines in the province.
He said the laboratory was one of the best laboratories of the world and the most modern drug testing laboratory of the country.
The Chief Minister of Punjab said that during his recent visit to London, he also went to LGC Lab after which its team came to Lahore and started work on the project of modern drug testing laboratory, which had been completed expeditiously. He said that the scope of the modern model drug testing laboratory set up in Punjab would be extended to other districts as well.
He said there was collusion between the mafia producing substandard and spurious drugs and the corrupt elements of some government departments and they did not want that a modern drug testing laboratory should be set up in the province. He said that the building of the drug testing laboratory was constructed in 1970 and it conducted test of 30,000 samples of medicines which was not possible as in Britain tests of only 2,000 drug samples were carried out.
He said that it was a fraud for earning money through illegal means and he could not allow this practice to continue. Therefore, Shahbaz Sharif said, he personally visited LGC Lab during his visit to London and due to this, this model laboratory had taken a practical form. He said that establishment of the modern drug testing lab in the provincial metropolis was a big service. He said the Punjab government had also established the biggest and most modern forensic science lab in the provincial metropolis and it was being linked with nine divisions of Punjab through satellite, which would help in collection of evidence of cases at the local level and would result in substantial improvement in criminal justice system.
The Punjab government was taking measures on a priority basis for the development of health sector and provision of modern health facilities to the people. Steps are being taken to ensure acceptable standards of service delivery in public and private sector hospitals. An effective monitoring system has also been evolved for this purpose.
Under this strategy, the Punjab government has appointed two administrative secretaries for the newly-created medical education tertiary care health as well as primary and secondary healthcare departments.
In the new scheme most of the extensive public health infrastructures of Punjab are attached with the primary & secondary health department. It includes the 2,461 basic health units (BHUs), 293 rural health centers (RHCs), 88 tehsil headquarters hospitals (THQs) and 34 district headquarters hospitals (DHQs).
The new Drug and Control Department and the preventive care services are being run by the same primary and secondary health department. The major preventive care services include immunization, maternal and child health services and major micronutrient deficiencies. Besides, the Punjab Directorate Health Services would be under the same department. The general cadre and consultants working at the DHQ and THQ hospitals is under the administrative control of the primary and secondary health department. The teaching and nursing cadres are with the Medical Education & Tertiary Care Health Department.
Primary and secondary health facilities
The department of health and government of Punjab initiated the development of an Essential Package of Health Services (EPHS) to provide primary and secondary health facilities across the province. EPHS implementation is an integral part of the health sector strategy of the Punjab government. EPHS defines a basic minimum set of services to be made available for communities across the province.
This includes provision of services related to mother and child health, nutrition, family planning, basic surgical, emergency, diagnostics and health promotion initiatives. The primary level facilities include Basic Health Units (BHUs) and Rural Health centers (RHCs) to provide basic preventive and curative services including normal deliveries, while cases requiring higher level of care are referred to and managed at secondary health care Tehsil Head Quarter and District Head Quarter (THQ/DHQ) hospitals.
One of the key interventions to reduce high maternal deaths during pregnancy and childbirth is availability of emergency obstetric and childcare services at primary and secondary healthcare facilities. 40.3 percent of primary healthcare facilities were providing services for normal deliveries while 74% of secondary hospitals were providing services for caesarean section.
Major health facilities are as under:
Mobile Health Units (MHU): State-of-the- art ‘Mobile Health Units’ (MHU) have been launched that are installed with X-ray and laboratory facilities and are equipped with two doctors (male & female), medicines and a small operation theatre. These MHUs visit different remote areas where local patients are treated and serious ailments are referred to hospitals. Six MHUs have been provided in Southern districts of Rajanpur, Bahawalnagar, Ahmadpur, Sharqia, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan and Dera Ghazi Khan. These units are monitored by a satellite system.
Formation of Punjab HealthCare Commission: Punjab Health-Care Commission Bill was passed by the Punjab Assembly in 2010. The commission will have the authority to decide references against professional negligence and incompetence of doctors.
Foundation of Medical Colleges: Four new medical colleges have been established by the Punjab government in Sahiwal, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Dera Ghazi Khan.
Hepatitis Control Program: A Hepatitis Control Program has been started with a budgetary allocation of Rs2.8 million.
Other initiatives taken up by the health sector include:
– The up-gradation of BHUs and RHCs has been carried out and the District Headquarter (DHQ) & Tehsil Headquarter (THQ) hospitals have been attached with teaching hospitals for improving health care delivery.
– The budgetary allocation for the health sector in 2010-11 was increased by up to 32% (compared to last year) to sixteen billion rupees. The total size of the health budget amounts to thirty eight billion rupees.
– Provision of free medicines for patients in government hospitals is one of the top priorities of the Chief Minister. In this regard it is stated that an amount of Rs500 million was allocated for the provision of free medicine for the patients in government hospitals under block allocation under funds/ grant PC21016(016) health services during 2011-12 out of which Rs400 million has been released by the Finance Department (in two installments).
– Health-Care Insurance has been introduced in Punjab and poor segments of the society will be given special attention in this regard.
– Free dialysis facility has been provided in different hospitals. Apart from that tertiary care hospitals have been equipped with MRI, Angiography and CT scan machines.
– The provision of air conditioning facility has been ensured in all public sector hospitals.
– Improving the health care system has been a priority of the Punjab government. Cochlear Implantation operations have been performed on fourteen special children at Children Hospital Lahore in collaboration with Special Education Department. Each operation costing Rs1,500,000, and 115 more children will be provided this facility in the current financial year.
– Amendments in Punjab Pure Food Rules 2007 have been introduced that sets new quality standards for dairy products, minimum B.Sc. qualification for the food inspectors and stricter laws to curb production of substandard food items and its adulteration.
– All the public sector hospitals across Punjab have been provided with free parking facility.
– Faisalabad Institute of Cardiology and Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology have been established to cater to the long list of patients waiting for treatment and operations at PIC, Lahore who will now be accommodated in their own areas.
– The rehabilitation of Said Mittha Hospital, Nawaz Sharif Hospital Yakki Gate, Mozang Hospital Lahore as well as the new emergency block in Kot Khwaja Saeed Hospital has been completed.
– Punjab Institute of Urology and Transplantation and Gynae-Pediatric center will be established in Rawalpindi.