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Lahore to be made drug-free, says PM

LAHORE

PRIME Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has vowed to make Lahore a ‘drug-free city’ and urged the private sector to cooperate with government in achieving the ‘health for all’ goal.

Addressing the 10th convocation of Allama Iqbal Medical College (AIMC) Saturday, the PM announced a grant of Rs 30 million for the construction of a women’s hostel for Allama Iqbal Medical College and ordered immediate release of funds. The PM said that provision of healthcare to citizens was the government’s top priority.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, AIMC Principal Dr Javed Akram, Mrs Fauzia Gilani, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sardar Asif Ahmed Ali, Dr Hasnain Mubashir Malik, Khurshid Lashari and others were also present on the occasion.

The PM on the occasion said the government was trying to improve the standard of education and health. He said the PPP government was cognizant of the fact that progress and prosperity hinged on growth of education and health sectors. “Our party considers education and health as a basic right of every citizen and central to sustainable development,” he said. He said the government had allocated an all-time high budget of Rs 31.57 billion for education and Rs 23.15 billion for health during the current financial year.

The PM said the government was formulating a new national health policy with a goal of “health for all” and under the new national health policy, a number of effective measures were on the cards to provide access to a doctor to all citizens.

He said in a developing country such as Pakistan, the ratio of doctors and patients wasn’t very encouraging and more doctors should be trained. Pakistan was in dire need of dedicated, devoted, committed, caring, humane and highly professional doctors, he said. “We are a developing nation and healthcare professionals should assist the government in providing better medical services to the people,” he said.

He said the importance of medical profession had increased due to prevalent situation in the country, where expertise and timely healthcare was need of the hour. Even today a large segment of society was deprived of proper healthcare due to inadequate resources and shortage of trained staff,” he said. He said the provision of healthcare was the top most priority of the government and contribution of healthcare professionals and private sector was of vital importance. He said the private sector should come forward and assist the government in achieving the goal of “health for all”. He said healthcare professionals had no choice but to embrace the challenge. He said patient safety was an important aspect of medical profession and healthcare professionals must focus on it. He said he had also directed the Ministry of Health to develop an effective Disease Surveillance System and improve focus of the health management system to minimise possibility of errors. He said he had also directed the concerned federal ministry to make a model city free of drugs. Lahore would be the first city which would be made a drug free city and other cities would follow the suit, he said.

He said a number of precious lives were lost or irreparable damage to patient health was caused due to negligence or improper treatment in some medical institutions. He urged medical professionals and management of medical institutions to accord top priority to patient safety. He congratulated fresh graduates and termed their success a reflection of their commitment with their goal.

The PM also directed the federal health secretary to arrange transportation of medicines donated by the Muslim Aids UK for Jinnah Hospital from Karachi to Lahore.

The PM on AIMC Principal’s demand for release of grant for Jinnah Burn Centre directed the Federal Ministry of Social Welfare and Pakistan Bait ul Maal to release required funds. He also announced Rs 10 million for construction of multi-storey cafeteria for patients at the hospital.

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