LAHORE - Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Sunday that free medicines were being given to hepatitis and TB patients and 15,000 patients had been provided free medicines on their doorstep so far.

Addressing a meeting at the Civil Secretariat through video link, the chief minister vowed that the government would achieve the target of delivering free medicines to 100,000 patients of hepatitis by June 2018.

The meeting reviewed progress on the ongoing upgrade programme and advancement of projects in the health sector. He observed that the Hepatitis Control Programme was moving ahead successfully to save patients from the infectious disease and provide treatment to those infected.

Speaking to the meeting, Shehbaz said that under the TB Control Programme 5,000 patients were provided free medicines at their homes. He said this was a historical move of the Punjab government to supply standard medicines to patients on their doorstep. In the 70-year history of Pakistan, he said, patients were never given medicines on their doorstep through a courier service. He said that Hepatitis Control Ordinance was enacted to stop spread of hepatitis in the country. He told the officials concerned to ensure enforcement of the ordinance. He said the plan involving establishment of modern Hepatitis Filter Clinics was being carried out rapidly in various districts and 60 small hepatitis clinics had been made functional at Tehsil Headquarters Hospitals. He directed the officials to launch an awareness campaign about prevention and treatment of hepatitis.

Furthermore, he said, a brilliant programme had been started at hospitals to destroy the waste. Incinerators are being installed at hospitals, he said. He said that free ambulance service for rural women had yielded results so this service was being extended to more areas of the province. A reform plan was being finalised at 40 hospitals of the province and ISO certification had been secured for five hospitals, he said. He elaborated that Mobile Health Units were providing modern diagnosis and treatment facilities to people living in remote areas. He said 14 major mobile health units and 20 small units would be functional soon. In the next phase, he said, there would be improvement in more than 85 hospitals. He said the plan to give CT scan machines to all districts was moving forward rapidly. He said CT scan machines had arrived at Kasur, Bhakkar, Layyah, Vehari and Mianwali and their installation would facilitate people with 24 hours service.

The chief minister added, “We have developed a digital system for procurement, delivery and supply of drugs and now a common man is getting the same medicine as that of elite.” He said that modern system of drug testing labs had been introduced and Drug Testing Lab in Lahore has been developed on modern lines. He said remaining labs were also being made compatible with modern needs. The Punjab Health Management Facilitators Company has been made functional, he said.

The chief minister directed the officials to take necessary steps to enhance the capacity of the Department of Primary and Secondary Healthcare and devise a plan for a management course for medical superintendents of hospitals.

Secretary of Primary and Secondary Healthcare Ali Jan Khan briefed the meeting about implementation of health projects and said that incinerators to be installed at 13 places had been arrived.

Separately, Turkish Ambassador Sadiq Babur Gargon called on Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif for a farewell meeting.

Ideas were exchanged on issues of mutual interest, promotion of Pak-Turk relations as well as cooperation in different sections. The chief minister praised the services of Gargon for the promotion of Pak-Turk relations and expressed good wishes for him. He said that role of the ambassador would always be remembered and he would always remain in the hearts of Pakistanis as a great friend of Pakistan. He said the Turkish ambassador had played an important role in turning Pak–Turk relations into economic cooperation. He said the Turkish ambassador worked hard to promote bilateral economic cooperation.

The Turkish ambassador said that Punjab had set development records under the leadership of Shehbaz and moved forward rapidly to achieve development goals.

He said that role of the Punjab chief minister in promotion of Pak-Turk relations was praiseworthy.

Council General of Turkey Sardar Deniz was also present.

Earlier, Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed sorrow and grief over the traffic accident at Kala Shah Kaku that claimed many precious lives.

Expressing solidarity with the bereaved families, the chief minister prayed for speedy recovery of injured people and directed the administration to provide them with best medical treatment.

In his message on the International Child Rights Day, Shehbaz said, “Children are our future as well as most cherished asset. They should be treated with love and compassion as today's children are tomorrow's architects. If they are given proper education and training from childhood, it will promote self-confidence in them.

The purpose of celebrating this day is to promote awareness about the rights of children, as it is collective responsibility of the society to ensure protection of the rights of children.”

Shehbaz said welfare and betterment of children demanded a strong partnership between public and private sector. He said the Punjab government had taken comprehensive measures to eliminate the curse of child labour.