Pakistan News

Centre takes step towards taking over JPMC, three other health facilities

KARACHI: The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination has released a notification under which four health facilities — three of them located in Karachi and one in Lahore — have been added to the Schedule of Federal Medical Teaching Institutes Ordinance, 2020.

These institutions are Karachi’s Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and National Institute of Child Health (NICH); and Lahore’s Sheikh Zayed Postgraduate Medical Institute (SZPMI).

Interestingly, the notification dated Jan 7, 2021 is not marked to the Sindh health department — a major stakeholder seeking administrative control of the hospitals in Karachi for a decade.

“This is the first step of the federal government to take over JPMC, NICH and NICVD,” a senior JPMC doctor said.

It seemed that the federal government intended to run these institutions through the chairman of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences board of governors, he said citing that the notification was also marked to the chairman of the PIMS board of governors.

It may be recalled that the JPMC, along with the NICH and NICVD, has been facing administrative uncertainty since 2011, when their employees had sought Sindh High Court’s intervention against the likely devolution of these institutions to the province under the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

The matter remained pending till 2016, when the court ordered that the control of these hospitals would remain with the federal government. This judgment, however, was suspended by the Supreme Court the same year on an appeal filed by the Sindh government.

In January 2019, the SC rejected Sindh government’s appeal and ordered the federal government to take control of the JPMC, the NICH in Karachi as well as the SZPMI. Moreover, the court stipulated a 90-day period for the transition.

Last year, JPMC and NICVD employees filed a contempt petition against the federation in Supreme Court for not implementing its order. The federal government eventually pledged to implement the judgement within six weeks.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2021

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