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ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan on Thursday said the government was making all-out efforts to improve and revamp various entities attached with the Ministry of National Health Services.

While briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on National Health here, Dr Faisal said the government has planned to establish a 300-bed hospital in Islamabad.

He added that construction work on the hospital would start from March 2021.

Khalid Hussain Magsi, while chairing the committee meeting, said he was personally reviewing the progress on the health-related projects in Balochistan, adding that so far progress on the planned projects in Balochistan, was not satisfactory.

The committee discussed the budgetary proposals of the Ministry of National Health relating to the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for the Financial Year 2021-22. The ministry proposed Rs145.5 billion allocations for the on-going and new projects.

The committee, while endorsing the budgetary proposals of the ministry, approved all the PSDP proposals for the next Financial Year 2021-22.

On reservations of the standing committee regarding flaw and discrepancy in MDCAT Test results, the PMC was directed furnishing contact details of subject specialists of all provinces who were called in the meeting to finalise the syllabus for MDCAT Test 2020-21 along with approved minutes of the meeting for validation and confirmation.

The committee decided to pay a visit to the Pakistan Medical Council (PMC) today for manual rechecking of the papers of the complainant students.

The panel further recommended with directions to the ministry to reduce the passing marks of MDCAT Test from 60 percent to 50 percent.

The standing committee deferred the agenda items, ‘The Federal Medical Teaching Institutes Bill, 2020 (Ord No.XII of 2020)’ and ‘The National Institute of Health (Re-Organization) Bill 2020’ till its next meeting.

Meanwhile, the SAPM Dr Faisal Sultan warned against complacency in following Covid-19 precautions, and said the threat of coronavirus variants remained and the government was keeping a close eye.

Addressing a ceremony here, he provided updates on Pakistan’s vaccination campaign so far.

He said the struggle against Covid-19 was ‘not over yet,’ adding that after facing the second coronavirus wave, there was now a new threat of Covid-19 variants.

“Some time period for continuation of these [precautionary] measures, habits and care that we have learned needs to be ensured,” he emphasised.

Sultan said the ‘idea of vaccinations’ was directly connected to this strategy of sustained precautions, and said the world was fortunate to have many effective Covid-19 vaccines.

He said vaccinations for the general population would start from the first week of March “starting with the senior citizens over 65 of age and then working our way down,” he added.

“I think once we have a significant number of people in the world who are vaccinated, we will start to breathe a little easier.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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