LAHORE - The Punjab government will legislate for making mandatory pre-marriage Thalassaemia test.

According to a handout, Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif constituted a team under his adviser on health Khwaja Salman Rafiq to formulate recommendations for the purpose.

Addressing a seminar on Thalassaemia Day at Post Graduate Medical Institute Thursday, the chief minister directed the health adviser to formulate recommendations within two weeks for the purpose

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif called for stepping up efforts against deadly disease. Laying stress on effective awareness, Shahbaz sought clerics’ role for the cause.

Counting his government’s feat, the chief minister said the Thalassaemia Prevention Programme has been in progress in 18 districts of Punjab and its scope will be extended to the rest of the districts.

“The Punjab Assembly adopted a resolution in 2012 for controlling it and legislation will now be carried out for this purpose with the consultation of experts. The PML-N government has allocated unprecedented funds for healthcare,” he said. Shahbaz slammed the previous government over fraud in health funds, saying: “It lamentable that rulers of Punjab, during the era of dictatorship, imported granite tiles worth millions of rupees from India for the building adjacent to Services Hospital, disregarding the fact that these resources should have been spent on the provision of better treatment facilities to poor patients.”

Saying that no case of polio has so far been reported in in Punjab during 2014, Shahbaz stressed stepped up struggle for a polio-free Pakistan.

The chief minister said his government is taking all out steps for the improvement of healthcare system and building a healthy society.

He said that Turkish government and people have built Rs.1.5b hospital in Muzaffargarh to be inaugurated on June 21. He said that it will be a unique hospital of the country with regard to its design, medical equipment and treatment facilities. He said that if a hospital had been constructed with this amount by a local institution, its condition would have been totally different.

He said that the hollow and apathetic attitude of the institutions have brought the country to the verge of disaster. However, he said, it is time to change the destiny of the nation. He said that there is a need to adopt the principle of honesty, hard work and commitment to change the course of history. He said that though it is a difficult task but not impossible. He said that every member of the society will have to play his due role for achieving this objective. The CM  appreciated the efforts of Project Director Shamsa Rehman and her team who have achieved glorious results with limited resources. He said that third party audit of the project will be arranged through World Health Organization or some other international agency. Replying to questions of media, the CM said that general elections were held in Pakistan on May 11, 2013 and almost one year has passed and like its last five years’ tenure, no corruption case has surfaced against Punjab government which is a proof of the fact that all development projects are being completed in the province in a transparent manner. He said that no one has been able to level allegation of corruption of even a single penny against the PML-N government during one year.

Principal of Amiruddin Medical College, Prof Anjum Habib Vohra while presenting address of welcome said that it is a memorable day as CM, who has interest of the poor people at heart, is present at the function. . Prof Shamsa Rehman while throwing light on the project informed that under this programme, free of cost facilities are being provided to the masses at their doorstep for the prevention of thalassemia.

She expressed the resolve to make Punjab a thalassemia-free province under the leadership of Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif.