LAHORE - Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, chairing a meeting of the Monitoring Authority of the Punjab Human Organ Transplantation Authority (PHOTA) at the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, approved not only the Organ Procurement Cell but also gave nod for setting up the Organ Transplantation Authority for South Punjab.

Present on the occasion were Acting DG Punjab Human Organ Transplantation Authority Dr Murtaza Haider, Professor Muzammal Tahir, Professor Ghayasuddin Tayyab, PMA members, representative of Punjab Healthcare Commission, Mian Zahidur Rehman Batha and other officials of the department.

The acting DG PHOTA gave a briefing to the minister about the performance of the Authority. The minister approved the minutes of the last meeting and asked for details of the fiscal year 2019-20. She also gave directions to the officials to send the proposals of the Monitoring Authority on PHOTA Act 2020 to the Law Department. She also asked the Monitoring Authority to share proposals on fee of clinics for Corneal Transplant.

Besides setting up of an Organ Procurement Cell at Lahore General Hospital, the minister also approved the Organ Transplantation Authority for South Punjab. She said the performance and capacity of the PHOTA would be enhanced and an Organ Procurement Cell would also be set up at Bahria Orchard Hospital.

The minister also said that legislation was being introduced and nobody would be allowed to carry out illegal organ transplant business.

Meanwhile the minister said that Pakistan had a better recovery ratio of COVID-19 patients as compared to the other countries and the final decision to continue the lockdown would be made according to the scale of the local transmission.

Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid while talking to media during her visit to Dera Ghazi Khan said, “We had set a target of making eight Bio Safety Level-3 Laboratories functional by the start of the pandemic and five of them had already been made functional, the remaining three will be made functional within a month. Besides these eight, the ninth lab will be set up at Rahim Yar Khan. With the addition of new labs, we will be able to increase our capacity to 10,000 tests per day, currently we have more than 55,000 test kits in stock.”

The minister said as many as 145 hotspots for coronavirus had been identified were completely sealed in Punjab to stop the spread of the virus. She said that the quarantine centres could house over 28,000 patients.

The minister said, “The good news from Dera Ghazi Khan Quarantine Center is that only four peoples were confirmed positive from a total of 820 pilgrims kept at the centre, in view of the pandemic, we envisaged setting up 11 field hospitals in the province. Our public sector hospitals have a capacity of 50,000 beds and private sector hospitals also have a capacity of 20,000 beds.”

Dr Yasmin also visited the 50-bed Field Hospital at the Sports Stadium DG Khan. She reviewed the arrangements and met the doctors and staff at the hospital, and appreciated the district administration for making good arrangements.

She said that over 62,000 health cards had been distributed in the province. Earlier, she chaired the meeting of the Academic Staff at Ghazi Medical College. Deputy Commissioner Tahir Farooq, Principal Medical College Dr. Asif Qureshi, MS Dr. Shahid Hussain Magsi, CEO Health Dr. Khalil Ahmed, Additional Deputy Commissioner Revenue Samiullah Farooq, DSO Ataur Rehman and others were present on the occasion.

Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid visited Rajanpur Quarantine Center to check arrangements for COVID-19 suspected and confirmed patients.

Punjab Livestock Minister Hasnain Dareshak, Deputy Commissioner and CEO of District Rajanpur district accompanied the minister.

Deputy Commissioner and the CEO gave a briefing to the minister about the arrangements at the center. A total of 85 patients were kept at the Rajanpur centre of whom 60 had returned home, including confirmed patients, he informed.

Health Minister congratulated the district administration and appreciated their efforts for making good arrangements for corona patients. Provincial Minister Hasnain Dareshak was personally supervising the provision of treatment and other facilities for corona patients in Rajanpur district. She said it was encouraging to note that the number of patients recovering and returning home was increasing on daily basis. 

Dr. Yasmin Rashid further said, “We are making repeated appeals to the people to observe safety precautions.The morale of doctors and paramedical staff is high and they are working with dedication and commitment.”