PESHAWAR -  Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Tuesday said that the federal government always showed reluctance in sponsoring development schemes in the province.

“The Workers Welfare Board (WWB) was constructing burn and trauma centre in the terror-hit province but the centre did not take interest and the responsibilities was later taken by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to complete it”, the chief minister said while addressing a ceremony. He said that the federal government was to launch various public welfare projects in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) but it did not happen though Prime Minister kept on announcing projects worth billions of rupees but unfortunately it did not turn up to complete even a single among them.

The ceremony was arranged in connection with signing of two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the USAID, where two agreements were signed. Under the 1st agreement, the USAID will provide $15 million or Rs1.6 billion approximately, plus technical support for establishment of the Burn and Trauma Centre at Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar.

The building of this 120-bed burn centre is almost (90 per cent) completed by KP construction and works department. Its total cost is over Rs1.68 billion out of which $15 million will be borne by the USAID.

Similarly, the donor agency will also launch three years health initiative project in seven districts of KP and six agencies of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Under the agreement costing $14.88 million, the USAID will sustainably increase the availability of quality maternal and child health services in the Malakand Division and Fata to improve the health outcomes of mothers and their children there.

The ceremony besides Shahram Khan Tarakai, Senior Minister for Health, Chief Secretary Abid Saeed and Secretary  Health Abid Majeed was also addressed by  Kevin Brownawell, Deputy Mission Director USAID and  Raymond McGrath , US Consul General in Peshawar, who highlighted various features of the projects as well as lauded reforms of KP government in various sectors including health.

The chief minister said that health sector was the top most priority of his government and health emergency was declared after the PTI came in power in the province. He acknowledged the contributions of USAID for development of KP in different sectors, adding that providing 15 million dollars for completion of the Burn and Trauma Centre in KP, including a 60-bedded burn unit and 60-bedded plastic surgery unit in Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar.

This will be a first of its kind in this province, he maintained, and contended that burn or acid-hit  patients would then not have to travel to Hasan Abdal or other  remote parts of the country but the facility would now  be available here with so many additional features as well.

The chief minister said that health sector was the priority of his government in the context that they emphasised three things from the very beginning, development of the system, strengthening of service delivery and pro-poor initiatives to provide opportunities to the poor of the province.

Khattak said that his government invested heavily in development of human resources and health infrastructure. The number of doctors was doubled, he said, adding that the KP government increased public-to-doctor ratio from over 6,000 to around 4,000 people per doctor in the province.  It shows over 40 per cent health coverage and vivid improvement in doctor-to-patient ratio. He said that KP health budget stood at Rs65.7 billion.

The chief minister said this step had provided increased and convenient access to public. Last year the number of people using OPD or indoor treatment facilities had gone up to 100 per cent. Similarly, he said, more deliveries and surgeries were being carried out at all health facilities.

He said that KP government was more conscious of standards and had a working health care commission. The first performance audit of tertiary care hospitals had just been carried out, he said.

The Chief Minister also appreciated the cooperation of USAID in mother and child care programme in six districts of KP and seven agencies of Fata. He said that they were already providing a cash grant of Rs2,700 to expectant mothers to encourage them for visits to hospitals at intervals.

He said that they needed to access these females especially the ones on the verge of womanhood, be it in nutrition or reproductive health. He said that our access at grass root level was only possible through a robust LHW programme.

Earlier, the USAID mission held a detailed meeting with the chief minister and discussed matters of mutual interest wherein necessary decisions were also taken.