Islamabad - National Assembly (NA) body, while raising concerns about the scattered health facilities of the federal capital under Capital Administration & Development Division (CA&DD) recommended on Friday to hand over all departments to Ministry of National Health Services & Regulations (NHS&R).

NA Standing Committee on NHS was held here under the chairmanship of Member National Assembly (MNA) Khalid Hussain Magsi. The NA body was given a briefing on the rising number of abortions and the problems related to it, by CADD officials.

After the 18th amendment, the health department was devolved to provinces while Ministry of NHS&R was given the role of regulating and running few national level programs including immunization and control of drug prices.

The NA body, during the meeting, was told by officials that health facilities in the federal capital were being run by three different set-ups, including CADD, Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

The meeting was informed that population control program is being run in the capital under the ministry of CADD but the operational units are working under different administrative set-ups, which are ultimately affecting the results of the program.

Head of Gynae at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Dr Nasir Tasneem briefed the meeting that according to the last conducted survey, 2.2million illegal abortions were reported in the country.

She said that ratio of unintended pregnancies in the country is 20percent and the only provision in the law to terminate it is when the life of the mother is in danger. She also said that there is no record-keeping of post-marriage abortions.

Dr Tasneem said that most abortion complications are reported from rural and lower income backgrounds when women have to opt for illegal methods of aborting the baby. Such abortions pose a great health risk to the pregnant women.

She also said that modern methods of birth control are required to spread to control the increasing ratio of abortions in the country.  Federal Minister NHS, Saira Afzal Tarar, said that ministry has proposed its plan to Prime Minister (PM) of establishing Federal Health Authority to address the health issues in the federal capital. She said that there is an alarming increase in birth rate in the country.  She stressed the importance of establishing population centres in the hospitals to facilitate the people.  MNA Muhammad Afzal Khan Dhandla said that the population control issue cannot be dealt by simply establishing authorities.

“It is also a social issue,” he added saying that birth control programs are always opposed by religious parties and it is vital that the committee must take them in confidence to ensure the success of population control program.

MNA Col (Retd) Dr Amirullah Marwat said that the population explosion is a bigger challenge for the country than terrorism. NHS&R must start a campaign for family planning.

Chairman Khalid Hussain Magsi said on the occasion that reproductive health is a department that has been neglected by all governments.

“Rich hide their illegal means through wealth and the poor have to pay,” he said.

The body unanimously recommended transferring the health departments of federal capital working under different administrative set-ups to Federal Ministry of NHS&R.

The agenda item “Translation of Human Organs and Tissues (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was deferred.

The discussion on Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and briefing by Drug Regularity Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) and over-the –counter (OTC) Division and high prices of different medicines were also delayed to next meeting.