A Senate panel on Thursday took notice of an alleged forgery case in liver transplant unit of Shifa International Hospital, Islamabad, and sought complete details of the inquiry in its next meeting.
Briefing the Senate Sub-Committee on Delegated Legislation, chaired by its Convener Dr Ashok Kumar, Dr Imran, the monitoring office of Human Organ Transplant Authority (HOTA), said that a case was registered against a technician after he was found guilty of a forgery case at liver transplant unit of Shifa International Hospital in September 2018.
After the initial inquiry, a first investigation report (FIR) was registered against him and the unit of the hospital was shut for a month. However, he added that the unit was reopened after a month and the then secretary health ordered an inquiry and outcome of which is still awaited.
The committee found the action as unsatisfactory with the observations that the liver transplant unit of the hospital was supposed to remain shut till the outcome of the ongoing inquiry. The committee also sought record and complete details of case to be presented in its next meeting.
Senator Asad Ashraf questioned the reopening of the unit, saying how the unit could be reopened when the inquiry has not yet been finalized and who took the decision to reopen it. He said that the authority was supposed to take action against the hospital instead of pinpointing a low-grade technician. He also feared that the hospital might have used its influence for reopening the unit while the inquiry is still underway.
To a question, Dr Imran said that as per the law, there is five years imprisonment and Rs 10 million fine when a case of unauthorized and illegal human organ transplant is found.
To another query, he said that the kidney transplant units in Punjab have been continuing with illegal and unauthorized transplants despite the HOTA's reservations through various letters to concerned authorities.
He further said that HOTA is not authorized to take action in provinces as after the passage of 18th constitutional amendment, its jurisdiction is only confined to the federal capital and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The committee was also given a detailed briefing on Pakistani Nursing Council (PNC) by senior officials of the council who told the panel that there are a total of 85,696 registered nurses, 15,807 registered lady health visitors, 15,745 registered midwives, 4,963 registered community midwives and 619 registered licensed practical nurses.
However, they pointed out that there are still 7,500 posts of nurses vacant at various hospitals. The committee directed all the provinces to fill the vacant seats as per requirement at the earliest.
Committee member Mohammad Yusuf Badini emphasized the need for opening more training centers in Balochistan, saying that the people of the far-flung areas are facing severe health issues in the province. The PNC officials said that the federal government may help the provincial government in setting up more nursing training centers.
The committee was also given a briefing on Pakistan Health Research Council (PHRC). Senior official of the PHRC Dr Arif told the committee that the post of executive director has been lying vacant for the last two years while an overall 125 posts are vacant in the Council. The committee directed the ministry concerned to immediately fill the vacant posts so that the Council is made capable of the task it has been assigned.
Dr Arif while sharing outcome of the studies conducted by the PHRC, said that it was found in the studies that the major source of the spread of hepatitis C in Pakistan is the healthcare centers, adding the doctors themselves are spreading the disease due to lack of awareness. The meeting was also attended by senior officials of the National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, besides others.