Rs 19.9 billion allocated for health sector
ISLAMABAD (June 12 2008): The government has announced allocation of Rs 19.9 billion in the budget 2008-09 for the health sector, which is Rs 2.2 billion more than 2007-08 allocation. Total outlay set aside for Health Division is Rs 18.1 billion.
The targets for 2008-09 include deployment of full strength of 120,000 Lady Health Workers (LHWs) in the field. The rural health program includes construction of 40 Basic Health Units (BHUs), 10 rural Health Centres (RHCs) and upgradation of 15 RHCs, and 40 BHUs during the next financial year.
The immunisation coverage will be improved to 85 percent whereas 20 million oral re-hydration solution (ORS) packets will be distributed to prevent and treat diarrheal diseases. Rs 398 million was allocated in 2007-08 for ongoing and new unapproved projects, out of which Rs 120 million was expected to be utilised.
The major programs are improvement of nutrition through primary healthcare, establishment of reference laboratory for strengthening food quality control system, sponsored by Ministry of Health, Pre-test of Tawana Pakistan project, school nutrition package for girls sponsored by Ministry of social welfare, and national school nutrition program. The expenditure remains on lower side because two new projects could not start, pending approval process.
In spite of adequate production of food grains during the year, the access to major food items was disrupted in the country due to management issues, price hike, and slackness in adequate stock maintenance for couple of months prioir to crop harvesting.
In 2008-09, prospects of availability of essential food items of consumption will be maintained through improved management to meet the nutritional needs of the population in term of caloric, proteins and other essential nutrients.
Rs 262 million has been proposed in PSDP 2008-09 for the ongoing and new programs in nutrition by different ministries. Total cost of the overall projects initiated by the Ministry of Health is Rs 19 billion. Out of which 71 are ongoing, costing Rs 18.2 billion, and 14 new projects costing Rs 711 million. In the new projects the major one is Prime Minister’s Special Initiative for expansion and up-gradation of BHUs costing Rs 500 million.
Source: Business Recorder