ISLAMABAD-National Institute of Health (NIH) has decided to send its officials on training to Australia to learn dengue virus control in the country, the Senate body was told on Friday.

Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSR&C) was held here to discuss the work, functions, and performance of National Institute of Health, Islamabad, budget allocation of the institute, funding from national and international donors, and income generated ad total expenditure under different heads.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Khushbakht Shujaat and was attended among others by Senators Dr. Mehr Taj Roughani, Dr. Ghous Bakhsh Niazi, Dr. Sikander Mandhro, Sana Jamali, Liaquat Tarakai, Secretary National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, and heads of NIH and PIMS.

ED NIH Maj. Gen Professor Aamir Ikram while briefing the committee said that the institute will send its officials to Australia for training on dengue disease.

The committee chairperson inquiring about the preparation of anti-dengue campaign said that anti-dengue operation this year was not started in time due to which number of cases increased.

Secretary NHS Dr. Allah Bakhash Malik also responded that the officials sent on training will also provide training to other staff on return, while the anti-dengue operation will start in the months of January and February to control the spread.

ED NIH also briefed the committee that in 2018-19, Rs527.240 million grant in aid was received from government and for 2019-20 proposed budget is Rs535.759 million.

He said that the institute is working on proposing three different pieces of legislation to make the health sector better and has rejuvenated the working of the institute in last couple of years. He also added that from international agreements to generating vaccines, the institute is working on becoming internationally compatible.

The committee was informed that NIH has established a public health laboratory at Balochistan while the process of establishing more labs is underway in Punjab, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK.

He also said that the institute has cleared the debt of Rs100 million and it has also become ISO certified institute.

ED NIH also said that 80 percent consumption of antibiotics in country is unnecessary, while country expends Rs2 billion dollars on importing of vaccine.

He also said that 3 million anti-rabies vaccine has been made in country which is more than demand in the country.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) administration suggested the Senate body charging fee from affordable patients to generate revenue for hospital.

Briefing the committee, Executive Director (ED) PIMS Dr. Anser Masood said that government should allow charging fee at PIMS from patients who can afford to generate revenue for the hospital.

He said that the revenue generated from collection of fee will be spent on healthcare of non-affording patients.

ED PIMS said that hospital management intends to present a proposal in this regard to make PIMS an income generating hospital.

Chairperson committee remarked that common man is suffering due to lack of health facilities.

She urged PIMS official to present a policy in this regard before the committee.

The vommittee also discussed high charges of private hospitals and laboratories and pathetic condition of public hospitals raised by Senator Javed Abbasi. It was told that learning from the experience of Punjab, the federal government is working to develop minimum service standards and categorisation as well, which will be mandatory to follow by hospitals and laboratories.