Meeting of Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Dr. Muhammad Humayun Mohmand here at Parliament House today.
The Committee discussed six agendas in detail. At the outset there was discussion on the point of public importance regarding “Withdrawal of incentive from doctors serving in pathology and radiology department and deterioration of National Control Laboratory” raised by Senator Dilawar Khan and referred by the House on 3rd of June, 2021 for consideration and report.
While replying to the issue of withdrawal of incentive SAPM for NHSR&C Dr. Faisal Sultan informed that there is no change in policy on the matter. Officials from the Ministry stated that incentive has been discontinued owing to the directions of Finance Ministry. Chairman Committee decided to reach out to The Ministry of Finance on the matter in order to resolve the issue.
The agenda on Point of public importance regarding” improvement on the National Control Laboratory” was discussed in detail. The Committee members expressed their reservations regarding appalling and deteriorating situation of such an importance institution.
Senator Fawzia Arshad said that institute is in pathetic situation and essential equipment is getting obsolete. Even water is not available at institute premises, she said.
The Chairman Committee directed that there is need to upgrade the level of institute in order to get WHO recognition so that locally produced vaccines and medicines can be standardized and exported. Furthermore, the Committee decided to visit the Institute and observe the situation. The SAPM agreed and stated that the future course of action on improvement of National Control Laboratory can be chalked out as per recommendations and observations of the Committee.
The Chairman Committee Dr. Muhammad Humayun Mohmand said that the Committee will support the Ministry in every step for betterment of people of the country.
Answering to the question raised by members regarding availability of data on different variants of corona virus currently circulating in Pakistan the SAPM Dr. Faisal Sultan explained that it is impossible to perform genome sequencing of every positive case in the country thus getting exact data on different variants is near to impossible even for developed countries. Only selected samples are chosen for genome testing and the results cannot be generalized across the country as sample size is too small. He further said that all the latest data regarding covid-19 situation in the country is available through NCOC every day.
Discussing the Public Petition submitted by Dr. Ashiq Ali Unnar regarding “amendment/inclusion of Electro Homeopathy in the Health Commission Act 1965 and 2017, referred by Chairman Senate on 25th June, 2021 to the committee for consideration and report” was discussed in detail. The SAPM Dr. Faisal Sultan while referring to the practice of Electro Homeopathy said that there is currently no such accepted or recognized practice around the world of this nature. He requested that the matter should be referred to National Council for Homoeopathy for further investigation and deliberation. The Chairman Committee directed the Petitioner to approach the relevant department and the agenda was disposed off.
Senator Dilawar Khan apprised the Committee regarding recent case of spurious drugs in Peshawar. The Committee members lamented the DRAP officials on issue of spurious drugs and lack of quality drug testing labs in the country. The Chairman Committee said that “We are not here to criticize, we are here to improve the system for the people of Pakistan”. The Chairman Committee sought a comprehensive report on the matter within 2 weeks. The DRAP officials were further instructed to contact provincial administration regarding progress on the case and report back to the Committee as to what steps have been taken so far by both provincial departments and DRAP. Senator Fawzia Arshad said that the matter of spurious drugs is very important as it directly affects human lives. She further recommended that prices of drugs should also be vigorously monitored as essentials medicines are getting out of common people’s reach.
Ministry Officials also briefed the Committee on functions, work and performance of Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination and its attached departments/organizations and institutions.
The agenda on “”regularization of contract employees of ‘Federal General Hospital Islamabad’ raised by Bahramand Khan Tangi” was discussed in detail. Aggrieved doctors from Federal General Hospital were present during the discussion and were given ample time to explain the issue. The Committee members expressed their disappointment as to why the issue has been lingering on for so long due to procedural limitations.
The Chairman Committee decided to summon the relevant departments such as FPSC and Ministry of Law and Justice in the next meeting of the Committee in order the solve the longstanding issue as soon as possible.
Senators Fawzia Arshad, Rubina Khalid, Khalida Ateeb, Dilawar Khan, Dr. Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur, Senator Sana Jamali and senior officials from the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination were present during the meeting.