LAHORE - The Australian government has commended the project of mother and child hospitals and offered cooperation in this regard.

A delegation of Australian High Commission led by Director

Aladin Niazmand called on Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid here on Wednesday and discussed various issues regarding improvement in public health services in Punjab. The Australian delegation said that mortality rate in Pakistan was high among South Asian nations.

The establishment of mother and child hospitals would help in reducing mortality rate. Dr Yasmin Rashid welcomed the offer of technical as well as financial support from Australian delegation and said that poverty alleviation, education for all and quality health facilities was focus of the government.

She pointed out that US-Aid also extended its support to mother and child hospital project. “ Five mother and child hospitals would be set up in different districts while a state of art mother and child healthcare centre at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital Lahore would also be established’ she said.

The minister hoped that targets of mother and child health would be achieved with the help of international partners.

She also stressed the need for initiatives for reduction in mortality rate.

Meanwhile, a top level meeting chaired by Health Minister considered increase in allowances of medical profession and also reviewed reforms in public health sector.

Additional Chief Secretary Capt (R) Ejaz, Secretary Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education, Dean Institute of Child Health Prof Masood Sadiq, Principal Services Institute of Medical Sciences

Prof. Mehmood Ayzaz and others were also present during the meeting.

Dr Yasmin Rashid said that to overcome the shortage of doctors, consultants and professors special allowance was under consideration of the Health Department.

After necessary file work, a summary would be moved to Punjab Cabinet for approval.

“Health reforms were being implemented and that would bring improvement in healthcare sector. Medical colleges would be given autonomy and in the first phase five medical colleges would be  given status of autonomous body”, announced the Minister.

She stressed the need for improvement in rural health centers as majority of population was living in rural areas.

She directed the Secretary SH&ME to move ahead for special allowance for medical professionals and said enhanced salary packages would be offered to doctors appointed in far-flung areas.

“Positive initiatives by the government would enhance performance of doctors and service delivery as well”, she concluded.