KARACHI - Sindh Minister for Health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho has informed the provincial assembly that currently 9,534 licensed pharmacies are selling drugs across the province under the Sindh Drug Rules 1979.

During the question hour, the minister said that it is mandatory that valid registration certificates of the pharmacist issued by the Pharmacy Council of Sindh are displayed at prominent parts of the licensed premises and it is the duty of drug inspectors to visit and check, not less than twice a year. “If the drug inspector detects any contravention and violation of the rules including absence of qualified person-cum licensed pharmacist, he refers the case to the provincial Quality Control Board Sindh for further course of action which decides the fate of the case and grants permission for prosecution in the honourable Drug Court, Karachi, Sindh,” she added.

Giving details, the minister informed that there are 3837 licensed pharmacies in Karachi Division, 337 in Shaheed Benazirabad, 626 in Sanghar, 344 in Badin, 151 in Tharparkar, 312 in Hyderabad, 180 in Matiari, 111 in Tando Allahyar, 52 in Tando Muhammad Khan, 329 in Mirpurkhas, 233 in Umerkot, 185 in Thata, 150 in Sujawal,  142 in Dadu, 175 in Jamshoro, 429 in Sukkur, 256 in Khairpur,  406 in Naushero Feroze, 162 in Ghotki, 374 in Larkana, 247 in Kamber Shahdadkot, 197 in Shikarpur, 130 in Jacobabad, 169 in Kashmore.

To a question, the minister said currently 21,210 lady health workers (LHWs) are working in the province but there is not a single school or training centre for them. However, she maintained that the training of every lady health worker is conducted at First Level Care Health Facility (FLCF) in two phases. “Phase-I consist of three-month class room training with OPD exposure whereas Phase-II consists of nine-month training in which every worker has to work for one week at FLCF and for three weeks in her community,” said the minister.

Answering a query about criteria for lady health worker, Dr Azra said that married female who is permanent resident of the area for which she is recruited and having minimum eight year schooling is eligible for the slot.

Separately, the minister said that the directorate of Health Services Karachi is monitoring and supervising various preventive, curative and development activities in all six districts of the city in ‘well-coordinated’ manner through respective District Health Officer and Town Health Officers. “The directorate is also tenders its services for mitigation response in case of disasters like rain, earth quake, heat stroke and flood by providing health services to affected IDPs,” she said while highlighting the efforts.

The minister was of the view that the directorate of Health Services Karachi ensures timely procurement and availability of medicines and allied items.  Awareness and health education to the masses on different issues are organized by the directorate which also prepares new development schemes regarding health facilities. “It also takes actions and keep vigilant eye and against illegal clinics, un-authorized medical stores and non-registered blood banks,” said Dr Azra.