Basic Health Units yet to get dividends of Centralization Plan

By Hamid Khan Wazir

ISLAMABAD: The incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government took an unprecedented step to centralize the widely fragmented health sector in the Federal Capital, which was a constant source of inconvenience for the patients of the metropolitan, as the Basic Health Units (BHU) and Rural Health Centres (RHC) don’t have the basic health facilities.

The BHU and the RHC of the Federal Capital were earlier looking after by the health department of the Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) Office; however the present government merged BHU and RHC under the umbrella of the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination to centralize the fragmented health sector of the Federal Capital.

The government’s decision gave a hope that the missing health facilities in BHUs and RHCs would be provided and their staffers would be upgraded so as to improve the system in the basic health units so as to ease the burden unto the major hospitals of the Federal Capitals.

Govt discriminatory policies continue despite centralization of health sector

However, despite bringing BHU and RHC under the health ministry, the government discriminatory policies are still contining as the not only BHUs and RHCs officials are being treated differently but the missing facilities don’t provide to there, which raised many eyebrows.

The service structure of paramedics of the federal government, hospitals/medical institutions, working under the health ministry has been approved in total disregard to the medical assistants/para-medical staff of basic/rural health centers of Islamabad.

A notification a copy of which is available with this scribe reads, “I am directed to inform you that cases for improvement in service structure of Paramedics of Federal Government, Hospitals/Medical Institutions, working under this ministry, is under consideration in the light of improvement made by government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in service structure of their Paramedics.”

An overview of proposed improvement in service structure of paramedics by means of up-gradation/re-designation of various parts of paramedics of the federal government Hospitals/medical institutions is as under: Junior Tech BS-9 was upgraded to Tech BS-12, Tech BS-12 to Senior Tech BS-14, Tech Senior Tech BS-14 to Chief Tech BS-16, Chief Tech BS-16 upgraded to Chief Tech BS-16 allowed an allowance in next grade and provincial Technician BS-17 upgraded to Provincial Technicians allowed an allowance in next grade, the notification stated.

It was stated that all concerned are requested to intimate financial impact of proposed improvement in service structure of paramedics of respective federal/medical Institution.

The service structure has been implemented at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Federal Government Polyclinic (FGPC) and the National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (NIRM), Federal General Hospital (FGH) Islamabad, Central health establishment and TB Center, Rawalpindi.

However, despite the merger of the BHUs and RHCs with the health ministry, the officials associated with these centers are still being treated differently.

All Para-Medial Staff Health departments in a letter addressed to the Secretary Health NHSR&C requested for provision of basic fundamental rights to the medical assistants/para-medical staff of basic/rural health centers Islamabad.

Refer to the subject cited above, it is stated for your kind attention and sympathetic consideration that we are unable to get those rights given to the other federal health department employees like PIMS, FGPC, NIRM, NIH of the same ministry,” the latter reads.

Besides, they complained that there is no Hajj mission quota for the staff serving in the BHUs/RHCs till the DHO office established in Islamabad 1980.

It was stated that no medical risk allowance is admissible to the staff serving in RHCs/BHUs under the DHO office where they are highly exposed/assigned duties against risky diseases polio, measles, dengue, TB and door to door campaign break out diseases without any safety and security measures.

The medical assistant and other paramedics are placed in very low grades BPS-08 and BPS-05, up to BPS-09 hardly, they either retire in the same pay scales or die in that, it is true that the medical assistant LHVs, lab tech, dispenser, vaccinator are the backbone of primary health care system but unfortunately they have been kept in the dark rook regarding their basic right which clearly lay down towards discrimination under rules/law exists, the letter reads.

They complained, “It is very painful to acknowledge that the sanitary inspector, storekeeper clerical staff calls four and even the LHWs are also promoted and given proper scales BPS-05 with middle qualification which is again discrimination within the same health department.”

“There is no job description in the form of green book for each cadre in the BHUs/RHCs which is necessary whenever duties/responsibilities are assigned/deputed in order to make the system smooth in all aspects in the primary health care facilities RHCs/BHUs under DHO office health department Islamabad,” it was stated.