ISLAMABAD-The Senate body on National Health Services (NHS) on Thursday recommended the government to provide free face masks to public.

The meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on NHS was held here under the chairmanship of Senator Sikandar Mandhro. Discussing the rise in Covid-19 cases on agenda, the Committee was informed that a 2.4 percent rise has been observed, which even though not alarming must be taken seriously. 

Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on NHS Dr. Faisal Sultan stated that gatherings are the main cause of virus spread, while school compliance levels were high, he added.  

He asserted that provinces must take stringent measures to ensure SOP implementation. The Committee recommended that the health ministry must take strong measures to ensure availability of masks to the masses for free.  If not, at least steps must be taken to ensure affordability. 

The Committee also took up the issue of grant of budget honoraria arrears to the medical and para-medical staff working in the dispensary of the Parliament House announced by the Finance Minister for employees serving within the corridors of the Parliament. 

The Committee took serious notice of the summary pending since the past 11 months.  Federal Minister for Health, Dr. Faisal Sultan assured the Committee that he will look into the matter personally and ensure that it is sorted out at the earliest.  The Committee directed that all correspondence and documentation regarding this issue must be submitted to the Committee and representatives of the ECC and the Finance Ministry must be summoned.

Deliberating over the issue of transfers of doctors in Polyclinic, the Committee was assured that all details will be submitted to the Committee within two weeks. The meeting was attended by Senator Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, Senator Dr. Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, Senator Liaqat Khan Tarakai, Senator Dr. Ashok Kumar and senior officers from Ministry of Health along with all concerned.  Separately, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training, Ms. Wajiha Akram, visited the National Skills University Islamabad. The Vice-Chancellor briefed her about ongoing activities in the university and upcoming skills-oriented programmes to be initiated. She expressed her satisfaction with the progress made by the university over the past year.  According to her, developments in the university over the past year are miraculous.

Compared with her visit in the last year, the place is emerging as an education setup conducive to skills education. The National Skills University Islamabad students from the documentary and short filmmaking programme welcomed Ms. Wajiha Akram and presented her a bouquet. She also interacted with the students and appreciated their skills and professional excellence.

The Vice-Chancellor gave a short presentation about the university progress, establishing the first Senate, two meetings within a couple of months, ongoing building rehabilitation activities, hiring new staff, and faculty process to be initiated for an ultimate passage to excellence. She also visited the auditorium of the university and the Auto Engineering Technology Workshop. 

The Vice-Chancellor presented the Parliamentary Secretary with “NSU Vision 2025 - A Strategy for Youth Skills for Tomorrow” prepared and approved by the University Senate.