RAWALPINDI: The PTI government in Punjab has reversed the last government’s decision to centralize procurement for health facilities three years ago, giving districts back the power to procure medication and equipment at the local level.
The provincial government had in 2015 centralized the procurement of medicines and equipment for rural health centers, basic health units and tehsil headquarters (THQ) hospitals for 36 districts. A district’s health department would send its requirements to the provincial government, which would procure the items and give them to the district.
The PTI has ended that system following shortages of necessary medicines and vaccines in THQ hospitals and rural health centers in the last few months.
The government has asked district health authorities to purchase medicines according to their requirements from the funds allocated to them. A committee has also been formed to check the quality of medicines and their prices.
The committee will be led by the divisional commissioner and comprise deputy commissioners and health authority CEOs from the district as members.
On Wednesday, Rawalpindi Divisional Commissioner Jodat Ayaz approved the procurement of medicines for four Rawalpindi districts – Rawalpindi, Attock, Chakwal and Jhelum.
The deputy commissioners of the districts and senior health authority officials attended a meeting in this regard at the commissioner’s office. The committee selected 60 medicine brands for rural health centers, basic health units, and THQ hospital.
The district health authorities were asked to start the procurement process so it may be completed by the end of next month.
Mr. Ayaz directed for the availability of necessary medicines in health centers and hospital to be ensured.
He also asked district health authorities to utilize all their efforts to eliminate polio in the region and suggested involving influential figures from local communities in the polio vaccination campaign to bring refusals to an end.
He said polio had not ended in the region despite efforts because of the movement of people from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Mr Ayaz said the children of Afghan refugees need to be vaccinated because the poliovirus found in sewerage was similar to that found in Kabul.
Health officials should devise a plan for the coming days in view of past experience, he added.
District Health Authority CEO Dr Khalid Mehmood told the meeting that medicines will be procured after tests by the drug testing laboratory.
He also said that while there have been no polio cases in the district, attention must be given to the next polio vaccination campaign as the poliovirus was found in Leh Nullah in the Safdarabad area.
While discussing dengue virus cases, he said a total of 421 patients with dengue were reported in government-run hospitals, but no dengue-related deaths were reported from hospitals this year.