LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif presided over a meeting on Friday which gave approval to various measures for the uplift of health sector as well as to provide healthcare to the masses.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister said that provision of modern and quality treatment facilities to the citizens is the priority of the government as health is directly linked to education and progress and prosperity of the country.

Shahbaz Sharif said that health authorities should fix targets of improvement in public health facilities and devote all their energies for their achievement. He said that reforms in healthcare system were need of the hour and besides collective efforts and hard work, a team spirit was also required for this purpose.

The chief minister gave approval to up-gradation of nursing schools and giving them status of nursing colleges and announced that four center-of-excellence nursing colleges will be set up in Punjab. He also gave approval the pilot project of setting up district health authorities in four districts of the province.

The meeting also decided to change the non-functional boards of management of autonomous medical institutions. He said that there was no need for non-functional boards of management and active and well-reputed persons should be included in the boards.

The meeting also gave approval to up-gradation of emergency wards of district and Tehsil hospitals of the province under a phased programme and to allocate separate pediatric wards. He also directed that an effective monitoring system should be evolved for the purchase and distribution of medicines as well as ensuring their standard.

He said that a comprehensive mechanism of accountability should be introduced in health department at every level. He said that information technology should be utilized for evolving a digital system for the purpose of monitoring. He further directed that a programme should be chalked out for the training of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff in a professional manner.

Shahbaz Sharif further directed that planning should be made for giving special incentives to the doctors, nurses and paramedical staff serving efficiently in far-flung areas of the province and comprehensive recommendations be evolved for this purpose. He said that the process of recruitment of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff for remote areas should be highly transparent.

The chief minister said that planning should be made for keeping machinery and equipment of hospital functional and a plan be made for setting up bio-medical engineering workshop for the repair of out of order machinery of hospitals.

He directed that incinerators be installed throughout the province for the disposal of hospital waste and this system should be out-sourced.

The chief minister said that the role of lady health workers was vital for the provision of health facilities and a comprehensive programme be evolved in this regard. He said that the ratio of doctors and nurses in hospitals should be in proportion to the patients.

He directed that biometric system should be introduced for ensuring attendance in hospitals. Issuing instructions for setting up a steering committee for the speedy implementation of reforms programme in health sector, the chief minister said that he would hold meetings on fortnightly basis to review the progress of reforms programme in this sector.