ISLAMABAD: The federal government is working on new law to stop reuse of syringes in the country as this practice is a health hazard, official sources told Business Recorder.
This was stated by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination, Dr Faisal Sultan at a recent meeting of the federal cabinet when the issue of elections of National Council for Tibb and appointment of administrator came under discussion.
During discussion, the Cabinet members exhorted the need to stop reuse of syringes by the practitioners of alternate medicine, which was causing multiple diseases. SAPM on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination assured the House that Health Division was working on a new law to stop the reusing of syringes.
Alluding to the growing popularity of Chinese traditional medicines, a member highlighted the need to promote local alternative medicines. It was noted that alternative medicines were being encouraged only on the basis of scientific evidence. Secretary National Health Services Regulations and Coordination requested that in view of the approaching elections, the decision of the Cabinet may be issued immediately, which was agreed by the members.
Earlier, the National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination Division informed the Cabinet that the National Council for Tibb (NCT) is a body corporate established under Section 3 of Unani, Ayurvedic and Homoeopathic Practitioners (UAH) Act, 1965, having perpetual succession, to promote and popularize the Unani, Ayurvedic and Homoeopathic Systems of Medicines, to regulate education and research in, and to provide for the registration of practitioners of these systems of medicines. The Council consists of twenty members who are chosen through election process as well as nomination by the Federal Government in the ratio as specified in Section 4 of the Act and in the manner and for such term as enunciated in Unani, Ayurvedic and Homoeopathic System of Medicine Rules, 1980.
The last Council of NCT, on its formation through due process, took oath on July 9, 2015, for a tenure of five years, vide Notifications of October 11, 2013, April 23, 2015, May28, 2015 and July 27, 2015, respectively.
After maturing its legal term of five years, on July 6, 2020 the Council has ceased to exist. The election, which ought to have been held three months before expiry of the Council, could not be planned/held because of COVID-19 situation in the country.
As the spread of disease has considerably slowed, the Ministry ought to take necessary steps for holding election of the Council as required under Section d of the Act read with rule 18 of Unani, Ayurvedic and Homeopathic System of Medicine Rules, 1980.
"Whenever on election to the Councils to be held under section d or section 5, the federal Government shall, by notification in the official Gazette, specify a date, which shall not be less than three months preceding the date on which the term of members of the Council is due to expire, on which such election shall he held and may appoint a Returning Officer for holding such election.”
The expenditure on the proposed election process shall be borne by the Council for which sufficient funds are available under the relevant heads of Budget Estimates of the Council for CFY 2020-21.
Besides this all powers and functions of the Council are required to be vested in some person or authority, to be appointed by the Federal Government, to run the affairs of the Council till constitution of the new Council or for a period of one year, as enunciated in Section 9(5) of the Act reproduced as follows: "The election or nomination of the members of the Council shall be held at least three months prior to the expiry of the prescribed tenure of the Council and expenditure on election shall be borne by the respective Council and if at any time, the Council ceases to exist on expiry of its prescribed tenure, all powers and functions of the Council shall, till constitution of new Council or for a period of one year, be exercised and performed by such person or authority as may be appointed by the Federal Government in this behalf, as if such person or authority the Council."
The National Health Services Regulations and Coordination Division sought the approval of the Cabinet to the following: (i) Muhammad Iqbal, Deputy Secretary (Admin), M/o NHSR&C, may be appointed as Administrator of the NCT, for
an interim period, to run the affairs of Council till constitution of new Council or for one year whichever is earlier as per section 9(5); (ii) Asghar Ali Deputy Secretary (Co-ord), M/o NHSR&C may be appointed as Returning Officer for holding election of the National Council for Tibb and; (iii) Election National Council for TIBB may be held on April 13, 2021.
The Cabinet approved the proposal with immediate effect and allowed the National Health Services Regulations and Coordination Division to issue required notification.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021