LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the goal of setting up a healthy society could not be achieved without improving healthcare system.

Addressing inaugural session of a two-day Punjab Health Sector Reforms Conference at Chief Minister’s Office on Tuesday, he urged medical experts to evolve such a healthcare system which ensure provision of modern and quality services to every member of the society.

Defence Production Minsiter Rana Tanveer Hussain, Punjab Health Minister Khalil Tahir Sandhu, Minister Population Welfare Zakiya Shahnawaz, Adviser Dr Ijaz Nabi and other health experts were present. Shahbaz said condition of hospitals could be improved through collective wisdom and concerted efforts.

He said besides provision of treatment facilities, due attention to preventive health was necessary. He said Pakistan was facing a number of challenges including substandard healthcare system, energy crisis, load-shedding, corruption and law and order problem and these could be resolved through vision, hard work and collective efforts.

He said the Punjab government was launching health insurance card scheme for extending quality health facilities to the common people. He said that a sum of Rs26 billion was spent during the previous tenure for providing free medicines to the poor. He said his government allocated a record Rs45 billion for health sector in the budget.

He hoped the solid proposals would come forth in the conference for improving healthcare system.

He thanked the organizers of the conference on holding this important event. He said that it was unfortunate that while the president, prime minister, ministers, judges, generals, politicians, bureaucracy and the elite avail the best healthcare facilities in and outside the country, the underprivileged segments of the society were deprived of even basic treatment facilities.

He said that there was need to devise a system to ensure provision of modern facilities to the masses. He said that it was basic responsibility of the rulers, physicians and surgeons to ensure proper treatment and preventive health facilities to the masses. He said that it was lamentable that a number of children have died due to measles. He said that Punjab government was taking all possible measures for the treatment and prevention of the children against this disease.

Shahbaz said that criminal negligence was shown by not launching timely vaccination campaign against measles and such tragic incidents were intolerable. He said that he visited every nook and corner of Punjab during election campaign and it came to his notice that majority of people were facing the problem of shortage of potable water while cleanliness and sanitation problems were also common.

He said that the situation in other provinces of the country was no different. He said that there was a need to improve health management system of hospitals. He said that health and sanitary conditions in hospitals could be improved through appointment of chief executive officers and the doctors dealing with administrative affairs could perform their responsibility of serving the ailing humanity.

He said that participants of the conference should try to find answers to the questions why rural and basic health centers have failed to provide medical facilities to the masses and whether or not mobile health units could be a substitute for rural and basic health centers. He said that medical equipment worth billions of rupees goes out of order in hospitals and services of foreign companies have to be acquired for its repair and maintenance.

He said that the conference should also look into the reason why biomedical workshop has not been set up for repair and maintenance of the equipment. He said that collective wisdom and thinking was necessary for finding answers to these questions. He said that Punjab government has made a substantial increase in salaries and incentives of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff. He said now it is responsibility of doctors to serve the ailing humanity.