Corporate sector should make direct investment in public hospitals rather than making donation to Government

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Patient’s Aid Foundation has done commendable job at JPMC
Corporate sector should make direct 
investment in public hospitals rather than
making donation to Government
Despite criticism, public healthcare facilities 
are the last hope for millions of people who 
get cured and benefit from their services

KARACHI: The current COVID19 Pandemic has thoroughly exposed the shortcomings of our health services and time has come when the corporate sector should come forward and make direct investment in improving and expanding services available at public hospitals. Instead of making any donations to the government which may or may not be used judiciously, their direct involvement with public hospitals will not only improve their own image but also help improve, expand the services. Despite some criticism, public hospitals, it may be mentioned here still remain the last hope for millions of poor people who get cured and benefit from their services.

Just look at the contributions of Patients Aid Foundation working at the country’s premier postgraduate medical institution Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre at Karachi. Had it not been because of the commendable contributions by the Patient’s Aid Foundation which has transformed this healthcare facility, it would have been by now reduced to a mere graveyard. Patients’ Aid Foundation has undertaken and completed and still continue to plan and implement numerous development projects at JPMS under the dynamic leadership of Prof. Tariq Mahmood and his colleagues. One just has to visit these various projects to believe the remarkable job they are doing for the last many years. In yet another instance, again it was at the JPMC which did not have any auditorium of its own when the Neurology Research Foundation took up this project and with the help of philanthropists Prof. Hasan Aziz was able to add this beautiful auditorium to the JPMC. But to achieve that he had to face lot of bureaucratic and administrative hurdles. Instead of welcoming this innovative step, problems were created to delay the completion of this project by the then administration. Even at present the Patient’s Aid Foundation is not getting the whole hearted support of the government which it should but still they have not given up and continue to work with the same devotion and dedication. If these things can work at JPMC, it can also work in all other major hospitals all over the country. However, it is extremely important that those who raise funds are given due respect, should not be made a silent spectators but they must have a meaningful say in running and managing these institutions through joint administrative committees. Improvement of local governance is extremely important. However, many a times what is noticed that the administration and government functionaries want the donors, philanthropists to provide funding but do not ask how it is and will be used. They do not want any accountability.

The concept of public and private partnership in Health and Education can work wonders only if such an arrangement is implemented in its true spirit. A lot can be done to add more beds, equipment, instruments, wards, investigations and imaging facilities at the public hospitals if some NGOs like Friends of the Hospital can be formed and made functional. Leaving everything to the government is a sure prescription for disaster and how much funds the donors, philanthropists might contribute to the Government, it will fail to achieve the desired objectives. Government needs to make a clear cut policy. The previous government of PML (N) as well as PPP Government in Sindh, it may be mentioned here had handed over the administrative control, running and managing a few public healthcare facilities in both the province of Sindh and Punjab to Indus Health Network and the experiment has been a great success. Instead of creating any problems for such initiative the rulers must help, support and encourage such initiatives which will pay rich dividends. They should not oppose such projects simply because it was the initiative of their political opponents.