ISLAMABAD: The federal government of Pakistan is set to have a new ministry of public health and services in place of the present Ministry of Regulations and Services, it was learnt reliably.
According to an official, the name and agenda of the regulations ministry are being changed to make it more comprehensive in dealing with key issues such as viral disease outbreak, international health issues, donor funding, national health programmes and drugs regulations.
When Dawn contacted the current minister for regulations and services, Dr Firdaus Ashiq Awan, over the matter, she replied:
“International donors such as the World Health Organisation and UN agencies are looking for a one-window operation at the federal government level. They were facing difficulties in executing health programmes at the provincial level.”
Dr Awan said that the federal government also had a number of health conventions which “we as a government were signatory but we could not manage it because of this recent fragmentation and we decided to bring few key health subjects at federal level.”
The current initiative would see every health department of the federal government under one institution, including the National Institute of Health, Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and public sector hospitals.
It is pertinent to mention that the subject of health was devolved in June 2011 to the provinces after implementation of the 18th constitutional amendment.
The federal government established Ministry of Capital Administration and Development to address health issues whereas the remaining national-level health programmes were shifted to the Inter-Provincial Coordination Ministry.
Later the same year, the cabinet division set up the Ministry of Regulations and Services and gave it the charge of institutions such as the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, film censor board and the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).
A federal government official maintained that the transformation had the approval of the president and the respective provincial governments.