Health, education — PML-N govt fails on both counts
Islamabad (TP): The Pakistan Muslim Nawaz (PML-N)’s outgoing government failed to achieve the targets it had for health and education sectors during its five-year tenure in office, documents obtained by TP show.
The targets suffered from red-tapism despite the enthusiasm exhibited by the PML-N government led by ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif and her often-heard dedicated team. According to the available documents, almost after three years in power, on October 21, 2016, Sharif announced that his government would establish 50 new hospitals of international standard across the country under the prime minister’s health reforms initiative. Of them, two hospitals were promised to be built in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). However, the government’s announcement remained limited to paperwork without taking practical measures to start the crucial project. Though under the health programme, cards were issued to a limited number of people in some areas it could not be extended to the expanded to the whole country.
As per the recent census results, Islamabad’s population has doubled (2,006,572) since the last census when the population was 805,236 in 1998. Currently, only two major hospitals (PIMS and Polyclinic) are catering to the needs of Islamabad, surrounding areas and the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Murree, Chakwal, Gujar Khan and other areas as no new hospital could be established in Islamabad in the last 19 years.
Similarly, the former premier had announced that a first and only nursing university will be established in Islamabad in cooperation with the Bahrain government, however, the project could never take off. Interestingly, the embarked land for the university could not be vacated by locals despite the fact that they had been paid hefty amount against this land.
Similarly, several strategies were devised by the Drug Regulatory Authority (DRAP), an attached entity of the Ministry of Health, to regularize price mechanism of drugs and medicines to provide maximum benefit to masses, but no concrete measure could be in place to regularize the regime.
A mega project named the National Tb Control programme was launched by the PML-N government to cope with the ever-increasing number of TB cases. Although the programme could not achieve the desired results, it has resulted in a significant intervention to control the noxious ailment.
The PML-N government was voted to power after 18th constitution amendment in 2012, it failed to resolve the confusion about the role of health institutions after the amendment. Currently, there are three different systems are in place in the health sector. The one is the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), which is overseeing the affairs of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences and Polyclinic; the second is the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination, which is monitoring 12 health institutions including major organizations such as the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, the Expanded Programme on Immunization, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan and National Institute of Health.
The district health department and Capital Development Authority are two other entities responsible to look after the health affairs in the federal capital.
Two years after assuming the office, Nawaz Sharif launched the PM Education Reforms Programme (PMERP) aimed at overhauling 423 educational institutions run under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).
The initial estimated cost for the mega project had been set at Rs2994.353 million and the work had been divided into three phases. Twenty-two schools had been selected for overhauling under phase-I at a cost of around Rs1 billion Two hundred institutions had been selected for renovation under phase-II at a cost of almost Rs2.7 billion.
Though work on 222 intuitions was completed under phase-I and phase-II, the fate of the rest 201 institutions, which were supposed to be overhauled and equipped with all technological equipment and other gadgets under phase-III, continue to hang in the balance while the PML-N government completed its term.
According to a report of the FDE monitoring team, huge irregularities were found in the work carried out on 222 schools under the PM programme.
According to the FDE report, a copy available with TP, several deficiencies were detected in the work carried on these educational institutions.
The FDE team had selected 30 schools for checking and the report found that the PC-I for the project was vague and flawed. It stated that the work carried out on various components of the project “was not rationalized and awarded to contractors without taking into consideration the size and capacity of the school building area”.
The CADD was handling the project through a project management unit established by former CADD Minister Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.
The issue of regularization of daily wage teachers and non-teaching staff, non-appointment of permanent heads of various departments and many other overwhelming issues remained inclusive during the tenure of the PML-N.