Islamabad ( 29th December 2021) : 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 Committee held serious reservations on the Human Resource Deficit of the NIH by 350 vacant positions as of the present date and termed it a major setback resulting in the quality of services provided. “One-third of the strength of the NIH is missing” Chairman Committee lamented. The Committee emphasized providing a reason for this delay. The NIH informed the committee that the delay is caused on account of the new act and new regulations, however, 10 days prior, the regulations and the advertisements have been approved. The Chairman Committee set a timeline for the appointment of the medical staff, the NIH assured the Committee that the appointments will be made in three months.
The NIH apprised the committee that the Genomic Sequencing Centers for Infectious Diseases are also established and 75 cases of Omicron variant have been diagnosed through genome sequencing up till December 28th.
The Committee received a detailed and extensive briefing by the National Institute of Health (NIH), on their work, performance, budget allocation and progress on various vaccines. SAPM to National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination Faisal Sultan appreciated the tremendous progress of the NIH during and after the Covid-19 “The speedy development the NIH had made during the Covid crisis and after is commendable”, he stated. The Committee also acknowledged the work of the NIH and believed it to be a great contribution in the health sector. During the briefing, the committee was informed that a new act has been introduced along with a new board of directors (BoDs) comprising of highly adept members.
The matter pertaining to the steps taken by the Government to substantially increase the number of seats in medical colleges for the students of erstwhile FATA and Balochistan in pursuance to the direction issued by the Prime Minister, and if not the reasons thereof, moved by Senator Mushtaq Ahmad khan and Senator Anwar-ul-Kakar was taken up in detail. The Committee was informed by the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) that the commission has no objection to any quota seats of the erstwhile FATA ,established by the Federal Government or implemented as the Provincial Government, subject to the said admission not being “over & above” the allocated strength of each college and the students admitted, fulfilling the minimum merit benchmark for admission as per criteria of F.Sc and MDCAT. The PMC further informed that since the Public colleges are owned by the Provincial Government, hence, any quota for public colleges is to be issued in consultation with the Provincial Government if deemed necessary by the Federal Government through its notified universities. “It is for the Provincial Government to implement any quota notified by the Federal Government” the PMC representative stated “ The PMC is not the admission agency for admissions to public medical and dental colleges and therefore, has no role to play in such admission or enforcement of the quota, she further added.
The PMC further informed the committee that the PMC has already enhanced 793 seats in Punjab, KPK, Balochistan & AJ&K to accommodate all quotas including the HEC scholarship project (Provision of Higher Education Opportunities for the students of Balochistan and FATA). It also added that the PMC has recently approved the remaining 36 MBBS seats of a total of 265 seats under this Project and issued a notification to this effect dated 03-11-2021, at the request of Heath Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Furthermore, the PMC informed that the matter of enhancement of seats in Public colleges is the prerogative of the respective Provincial Government. The Committee proposed to summon the HEC to give details regarding the allocated seats and scholarships. The committee sought a report by the Provincial Government on the grant of seats allocated to the students through the Pakistan Medial Commission.
The matter regarding the regularization of contract employees of Federal Government Hospital, Chakshazad Islamabad was also taken up. The Secretary, Ministry of Health informed the committee that the Ministry has sent a letter to Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) about postponement and rescheduling of the test after some time owing to the application submitted by the Federal Government Hospital contractual employees citing the reason of preoccupancy with corona duties at the moment. The secretary Ministry informed the committee that the grievance of the contractual employees with regards to regularization of the employees without examination through the FPSC is not applicable as per law and shall only be taken up as per procedure, however, on the request of the chairman committee the secretary Ministry said that he will speak to the chairman FPSC on personal grounds for a way forward granted to these 19 contractual employees case may be treated under special circumstances.
The report by the Convener of the sub-committee, Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, regarding Legend College Multan for grant of licensing was laid in the Committee. The committee adopted the report with directions to send its recommendations to the Pharmacy Council in the next 2 to 3 days.
Senator Sardar Shafiq Tareen raised the issue of three medical colleges of Balochistan whose students have been asked to retake the admission test despite being in the 3rd and 4th year of their MBBS. The committee decided to take up the matter in the next meeting along with the issue of "aesthetic doctors" and "Quackery"
The meeting was attended by Senator Prof. Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, Fawzia Arshad, Dr. Zarqa Suharwrdi Taimur, Mushtaq Ahmad Khan and Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar. Faisal Sultan Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health and senior representatives of the Ministry and its attached departments were also in attendance.