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NGOs asked to inform Fata health directorate before starting projects

NGOs asked to inform Fata health directorate before starting projects

PESHAWAR: Authorities have asked the non-governmental organisations to inform the directorate of health, Fata, before starting any project for the assistance of tribal population being repatriated to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas from the nearby Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, sources said.

“We have issued instructions to all the agency surgeons not to allow operations of NGOs who do not possess No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the Pakistan Army and have not signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the directorate of health, Fata,” they said.

The sources said that over 25 NGOs had applied for NOC to work in the Fata and KP a few months ago, but due to security reasons extreme care was being taken in selection of organisations willing to work in areas from where militants had been evicted in a full-scale operation.

They said so far only one organisation, which had been deployed for giving assistance to the hospital in Jamrud, Khyber Agency, had fulfilled the formalities while cases of few others were being processed.

Last year, the European Union pledged $22 million to extend support to the returning population in health, nutrition, livelihood, water, rehabilitation, education and sanitation sectors, but the partner organisations supposed to utilise the funds through UN clusters were yet to get NOCs.

The sources said that in normal circumstances it took about a month to get the NOC, but the current situation warranted complete scrutiny of the organisations seeking permission to execute projects in Fata or KP areas hosting displaced population.

“We evaluate proposals of the partner organisation after security clearance,” they said, adding that they would be permitted after a proper procedure.

The NGOs had applied to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) to seek permission for Fata in December last year, but none of them had been allowed to begin activities so far. Recently, the directorate of health, Fata, was asked to select NGOs to work in hospitals and provide diagnostic and treatment facilities to the people going back after staying in adjacent Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the military campaign.

The move is aimed at speeding up the process and spending the amount on welfare of the people, they said.

The sources said that the agency surgeons would supervise the partner organisations to be allowed to work in government-run hospitals in Fata. They said it was also feared that the funds might get lapsed if not utilised speedily.

They said that the UN agencies had approved project proposals of the NGOs and were ready to start operations as soon as they completed documentation. They said that the Central Emergency Relief Fund of the United Nations was required to spend the amount within six months, but it had not yet decided to terminate the funds despite prolonged delay.

The sources said that the Fata people had overstretched the local health facilities where they lived for three years. They said that the UN wanted to start the projects because the people desperately needed help.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2016

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