While the health of KESC remains precarious and the patient is still in the ICU on life support, let me give you an update on our Health of the Nation program, which Helpline Trust has launched, courtesy Vibe TV channel. The objective of these programs is to sensitise the much neglected health sector, which also seems to be as sick as KESC and highlight the issues that patients, hospitals, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry face. Up to now, almost thirty programs have been recorded and aired and the issues that have been discussed range from the common ailments like diabetes, various forms of cancers, including prostrate cancer, aids, hepatitis, etc, to organ transplant, quackery, misuse of disposable syringes, unchecked manufacturing and marketing of counterfeit and substandard medicines, malpractice and patient's rights, etc. These programs are hosted by me and are co-hosted by Dr. Salman Faridi, CEO and senior surgeon, Liquuat National Hospital. Prof. Dr. Tipu Sultan, former President, PMA and Samreena Hashmi, Sec. PMA, has also hosted some of the programs with me. There has been a general agreement from all the participants in the discussions, including senior surgeons and doctors of PMA, leading hospitals, CEOs of leading Pharma companies and druggists, that the main cause of the problem facing the health sector was the lack of an effective and rational National Drug and Health Policy. Other major factors effecting the Health of the Nation are, out dated Drug Laws, enforcement of existing laws, the unchecked manufacturing and marketing of counterfeit and substandard medicines and most important of all, the lack of funds allocated to this very important pillar of good governance, a problem that also exists in our education system. In some of the programs, senior doctors and Pharma manufacturers have openly accused the MoH of mismanagement and failing to protect the interests of the general public, especially while drawing up the National Health Policy. In one of our HoN TV program, both Prof. Dr. Tipu Sultan and Dr. Samrina Hashmi, had stated that PMA had submitted suggestions of a comprehensive National Health Policy in 73 and 84, but unfortunately, both had been ignored. PMA had again submitted suggestions and reforms in the "National Health Policy 2009" to the MoH, but again, the suggestions and recommendations were disregarded. For some unexplainable reason, the 2009 Drug Policy has relied mainly upon the previous NHP, 2001, which had failed to bring any positive changes in the Health of the Nation. As such, according to PMA, 'there has been slow progress in improving health outcomes, inadequate sector performance in improving coverage and access to essential healthcare services, and lack of synchronization of various policy documents'. Some of the recommendations and suggestions that had been prepared and submitted by Dr. Aziz Khan Tank, President and Dr. Habib-ur-Rehman Soomro, Gen Sec. PMA, (Karachi), briefly were: The provincial governments should be immediately asked to take over all federally run facilities, and the allocated funds to run these should be handed over to the provincial and subsequently to districts governments. Under the devolution plan, the City governments should be made responsible for running the entire primary, higher primary and secondary care facilities and the programs associated with them. Government and Semi government health facilities run by PIA, Railway, Steel Mill, Social Security department, etc should be strengthened and monitored through an accountability systems. The provincial government should limit their role to legislation and monitoring and evolution through health advisory boards, which should include professional associations of doctors and patient's representatives. All teaching hospitals, health care centres and medical colleges with their associated facilities should be made autonomous and should be run through block grants. A governing body consisting of professionals should take the decisions regarding all the functioning of the institution. The provincial government should be prohibited from interfering in the administrative activities like hiring and firing, postings and transfers of faculty and clinical personnel. Running the various health programmes and the facilitates should be the responsibility of the District Government, and who should also create a system through which all public and private sector health care facilities in their designated areas maintain a minimum staff bed ratio and ancillary services. However, I feel that, as is always the case in almost all government policies, there is a lack of transparency and the absence of the main stake holders, the patients, who should be represented in the drawing up of all major policies, especially health and education. We have repeatedly invited Dr. Rashid Juma, DG Health and other senior members of the MoH to participate and discuss these important issues on our TV programs, on a date and time convenient to them, but so far, we have not received a positive response. We have also requested DG Health to invite all stakeholders, including senior members and doctors of PPMA, Pharma Bureau, PMA, leading hospitals, Druggists Ass. and citizen's representatives, to a series of workshops to discuss health related issues, including Patient's Rights, which do not exist in Pakistan. But once again, for reasons best known to the MoH, no response has been received yet. The MoH has been kind enough to include us in their Price Fixing Committee, but unfortunately, due to financial restraints, we do not have the funds to participate in the meetings in Islamabad, especially when we have not been provided an agenda of the meeting. The general impression from the deafening silence of the MoH, is that there are powerful forces in Islamabad, who influence the Ministry and do not wish to improve the system for personal reasons. A situation that is also found in our system of governance and all ministries in Islamabad. One can only hope that through our HoN TV programs, we will be able highlight the importance of a health nation, as Health is Wealth and activate the MoH to fulfil its obligations to the citizens, by introducing a comprehensive and practical National Health Policy. I wish to add that while in Islamabad, I had meetings with Dr. Rashid Juma, DG Health, the two Drug Controllers and other senior members of the Ministry of Health and all assured me that the MoH would extend its full support and assistance in our efforts to promote Safe Medicines in Pakistan. H Maker (trust@super.net.pk)