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Event Title: A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Dr. Muhammad Humayun Mohmand

Event Date: 2021-10-27

 Islamabad (27th October 2021): A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Dr. Muhammad Humayun Mohmand here at the Parliament House on Wednesday.

The Population Council, Pakistan office informed the Standing Committee that according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics- Population and Housing Census 2017, the Population of Pakistan has increased by 6pc since its independence making Pakistan the Fifth Most Populous Country in the World today with a total population of 208 Million with Islamabad 2 Million (1pc), KP 31 Million (15 pc), Punjab 110 Million (53 pc), Balochistan 12 Million, (6pc) and Sindh 48 Million (23pc).

Dr. Zeba A Sathar (T.I) while briefing on the alarming rate of population growth and its consequences said that more than 11,000 women die annually due to pregnancy-related causes and 4 out of 10 children under five years of age are stunted. The population council noted that lack of Political-will and financial restraints were the reasons why population cannot be controlled. Millions of Pakistani couples cope with unwanted birth every year, the council further added.

The committee was informed that there is a total of 9 million pregnancies per year out of which 5 million are wanted while 4 million are unwanted pregnancies, out of these 4 million unwanted pregnancies, 2.2 million induced abortions, 1.4 million are unwanted births while the rest are miscarriages. The committee was also apprised that the public sector does not allow abortions. “Birth control is a bigger problem of men than that of women,” said Chairman Committee. The committee observed that there is a great religious barrier in terms of awareness in birth control and abortions which needs to be filled with the help of the Ulema. The Chairman Committee recommended  a legal framework for the same and an effective plan to devise its implementation. The Chairman Committee underlined that he will raise the issue in the House.

Earlier in the meeting, the chair welcomed the participants of the meeting and took up agenda wise points.

Private Member’s Bill (The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues (Amendment) Bill, 2021, introduced by Senator Seemee Ezdi and Sana Jamali was taken up for detail deliberation.

The bill was passed unanimously in principle however,  the committee decided that due deliberation to frame proper wording for the amendment of the bill is required for bringing more clarity.

The Committee was of the view that organ transplantation is the only option to save lives of those affected by terminal organ failure and improve their quality of life; however, disparity exists between the supply and demand of donated organs that leads to a loss of many lives. The result of organ transplantation may be improved, as a consequence of the innovations and improvements by prompt and timely verification and identification of donor after his /her death. For this purpose, the amendment in this act aims at requiring the national database and registration authority to display the consent of potential donors on national identity cards for identification and apt management of transplantation of organs and tissues.

Consideration of Point of Public importance regarding repair of “ Out of order MRI machine in PIMS, Islamabad “ pointed out by Senator Imamuddin Shauqeen and referred by the House to the committee on 29th September 2021 for consideration and report was also taken up.

The PIMS officials informed the committee that the MRI machine will be delivered by December 4th 2021 with a delay of 60 days. The delay will also be charged a penalty of 0.1pc per day of the price of the machine.

The committee was informed that an order for the MRI machine was placed, LC was opened on 4th June, and the payment was duly made. The company delayed the procurement process due to covid restrictions and delayed the order by 60 days. Consequently, a fine of approximately 2 crore Rupees is being imposed on the company.     

 “Every hour is important especially when it comes to health. Complete the process as per the procurement law as soon as possible in the larger interest of the public”, Chairman Committee stated.

Senator Fawzia Arshad also raised the question of whether or not, legally, the nursing internee should be allowed to give vaccination to newborns since untrained internees were vaccinating the children which have resulted in infections in newborns  

The matter pertaining to Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) on the recently MD CAT test conducted by TEPS and provision of the experience, technical qualification of all other testing agencies that participated in the bids were also taken up. The Chairman Committee, being the member of the American examination board negated the process of the MD CAT test and said that according to his experience and understanding the system of 32 days examination for 1 single test was baseless and a clear injustice with the test-takers.

The committee showed resentment at the absence of the President of PMC. The committee unanimously decided that the agenda point must only be taken in the presence of the President and the employees of TEPS.

The Chairman Committee directed PMC to ensure the presence of the President of the PMC and TEPS employees. The chairman committee also sought a report on the stepwise process of the exam conducted, within a week. The chairman directed that a one-point agenda will be taken up in the next meeting on the Briefing by the PMC on the MD CAT test conducted by TEPS.

The Public petition 2872 of Mr. Sher Muhammad Hazara was disposed of stating that the concerned authorities have considered the promotion case of the complainant (officer), and already superseded the officer after considering the merits of the case

The meeting was attended by Senator Prof Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, Fawzia Arshad, Sana Jamali, Rubina Khalid, Seemee Ezdi, Bahramand  Khan Tangi and Senator Sardar Muhamad Shafiq Tareen. Senior officials of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and coordination, PIMS, PMC and Population Council were also in attendance.