OKARA   -   Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid said the government had issued Insaf Health Cards to 7.2 million poor people.

Talking to the media on Sunday, she said that each family would get free treatment facilities up to Rs720,000 under the medical insurance cards. She stated that the government was committed to bettering health and education sectors in the country as per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, adding that Punjab chief minister had directed private hospitals to pay transport fare and medicines to the patients bearing IHC. She further said that if the expenditures on treatment expenditures exceeded a certain limit, the government would pay for the treatment of patients.

The minister pointed out that despite financial crisis, Punjab government in its budget had allocated Rs45 billion only for the development of health sector, adding that nine new hospitals would be built in the province including a 500-bed hospital in Multan and Rahim Yar Khan each. “Similarly, a 400-bed hospital will be built in Lahore and five mother and child care centres in South Punjab including Layyah, Rajanpur and DG Khan,” she added.

Dr Yasmin said that when she assumed the office as health minister, she had been briefed about the shortage of medics and paramedics at public hospitals. She said that Punjab government had so far recruited 11,000 doctors, 9000 nurses and 550 pharmacists in the province. She claimed that an advertisement had been published for further recruitment of 2,000 consultants within one month only.

“Similarly, medical officers have been directed to benefit from the services of anaesthetists to avoid unnecessary delay in surgery of the patients,” she said, adding “It is professionally unethical to refer a patient to a hospital in some big city until his/her condition is too critical to be operated by doctors at district level hospital.”

The minister extended gratitude to philanthropists namely Ch Saleem Sadiq, Qamar Abbas Mughal, Rai Ahmed Hassan Kharl, Mian Abdur Rasheed and others for donating Rs7.2 million for the renovation of 50-bed maternity ward of DHQ hospital.

Earlier, Deputy Commissioner Maryam Khan said that these donors and Okara Patient Welfare Society (OPWS) had been collaborating for the purchase of dialysis machines for kidney patients at public hospitals, adding that the OPWA had also provided a nutritionist for diet consultancy.

District Health Authority Chief Executive Officer Dr Abdul Majeed threw light on the facilities being provided to patients. He also demanded immediate fulfilment of the vacant posts of doctors on the vacant posts of Urologist, Neurosurgeon, ENT specialist, etc. saying that Okara was the 16th most populous district in Punjab where patients, thousands in number, kept visiting public hospitals round the clock. He also demanded immediate up-gradation of the hospital. The health minister assured the administration a solution to all the problems pointed out by them.