LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has directed the authorities for improving sanitary conditions in all hospitals throughout the province, along with taking steps on war footings, to clean the hospitals from rodents and cats.

Presiding over a meeting held to review mega health projects in the province on Friday, the chief minister said the sad incident of mouse biting which occurred at a Rawalpindi hospital, should not happen at any hospital in Punjab, otherwise the responsible would not be spared.

“The Punjab government is spending billions of rupees to ensure availability of best health facilities to the people, in addition to improving performance of the health sector, as well as promotion of medical education,” the chief minister held.

Shahbaz Sharif said new hospitals and medical colleges were being constructed, throughout the province. Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology and a 410-bed hospital in Bahawalpur would be fully functional by January 2013, he informed.

The chief minister said Bhawalnagar District Headquarters Hospital would be upgraded and foundation stone of a medical college at Bhakhar would also be laid soon.

“Promotion of health sector and provision of modern medical facilities to the people, at their doorstep, is the top priority of the Punjab government, for which a strategy has been adopted,” the chief minister added.

Shahbaz Sharif said apart from others, a 310-bed hospital at Shahdara was being constructed, while upgradation work on Sargodha DHQ hospital was being completed expeditiously. He warned that any delay in the completion of these public welfare projects was intolerable.

Health Secretary 0Capt (r) Arif Nadeem apprised the chief minister about the pace of work on health projects, and said the purchase process of medical instruments for the hospitals was being expeditiously competed, while staff for new hospitals had been selected on merit. Also, Shahbaz Sharif chaired a meeting to review security arrangements regarding Metro Bus Service.

The chief minister constituted a committee under the chairmanship of the Home Secretary, which would present medium and long-term plan regarding security arrangements.  He also directed that a Rescue-1122 Centre be set up at the elevated section of Metro Bus route, and a comprehensive planning be made for adopting the measures in case of any unpleasant situation.

“Metro Bus Service is a splendid project and after its completion people will forget the temporary inconvenience they are facing on the route,” the chief minister added. He said foolproof security plan would be formulated for the project.

Meanwhile, Shahbaz Sharif felicitated the newly-elected office bearers of standing committee of Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) for the year 2012-13.

In his message to the newly-elected CPNE President Jamil Ather and Secretary General Amir Mahmood, the chief minister hoped that the new office bearers would continue to work for the freedom of press and expression, alongwith solving the problems facing working journalists in print media.