Senate body concerned over ‘embezzlements’ in TB control programme

Islamabad – The senate body on Friday expressed serious concerns over the alleged financial embezzlements and misappropriations made in the Global Fund received by National T.B Control program.

The meeting of the Sub-Committee of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services Regulations & Coordination (NHSR&C) was held under the Convener Committee Senator Dr. Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi.

The meeting in agenda discussed the issues and measures taken by the National T.B Control program to control the disease. It discussed the briefing by National Manager on the mechanism for recommending private hospital and NGO for the receipt of Global Fund. It also took briefing by Indus Hospital and Mercy Cure on their working mechanism for the treatment of patients in far flung areas.

Member committee senator, Ashok Kumar, while expressing serious reservations on utilization of Global Fund by local T.B program officials said that there has been corruption of Rs.15million corruption while purchasing machinery for T.B control.

“Auditor General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR) reveled millions of rupees corruption in purchasing of machinery while the officials of Indus hospital are making false statements,” he said.

He said the X-Ray machines costing Rs27million were purchased without proper tender while the rent of the building hired by the program in the capital was also paid in advance without any legal agreement.

Senator Ashok Kumar said that the advertisement for the purchasing of 26 machines was also not published in papers while a single machine cost Rs8million.

“T.B program officials released 4billion to Indus hospital through Global Fund and the machinery was purchased in haste to avoid the transparency,” said Ashok Kumar.  

The senator also alleged that Rs60million were utilized only on vehicles and their fuel.

He also remarked that only for the renovation of two rooms in Mitihti, Sindh officials prepared a plan of Rs72million expenditure.

The senator also stated that provision of T.B machines before the end of month is not possible.

The officials briefed the committee that during current year the T.B program received Rs147million from the Global Fund, while previous year 81million dollars were granted.

The officials said that Rs62million expenditure was lifted on purchasing of T.B medicines.

The officials from Punjab T.B program briefed the committee that the province has 42 T.B centers with 272 beds. The officials added last year the province received 400000dollars.

The officials said that province was given the target of 25000patients and until now 21000 patients have received healthcare while the rest will be treated by December.

The officials said that the cost per patient in Punjab is 19dollars, while Indus hospital has spent 68dollars on single patient.

Officials also informed the committee that Pakistan stands fifth among 30 high risk T.B countries.

Giving a briefing to the committee meeting, officials from TB Control Program informed that Pakistan stands at fifth among 30 high risk TB countries.

The chairman directed officials T.B control program to present the details of T.B center Mithi, Global Fund utilization, medical machines and expenditure of Indus Hospital including salaries of staff on contract.

 The committee also directed officials to start an awareness campaign to educate people about the prevention and treatment of the disease.

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