Expressing shock and consternation over the appointment of Pakistan People’s Party Member of National Assembly Abdul Qadir Patel to the position of Federal minister of health, members of the medical fraternity stated that the current government could select a candidate with a medical history.
The Ministry of National Health is important for the PPP-led Sindh government as it has been at daggers drawn with the Federal Government of Pakistan led by Tehreek-i-Insaf on many issues.
But Mr. Patel’s appointments raised eyebrows among people associated with the medical fraternity who wondered why the Sindh government had proposed Mr. Patel’s name when there were other options, even though it was intended to address issues related to the three tertiary care hospitals in Karachi.
The Sindh government, led by the PPP, is engaged in a legal battle for ownership of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), National Institute of Child Health (NICH), National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) since 2011, when several federal departments were transferred to the provinces under the 18th Amendment.
Hospital employees are looking at this.
The provincial government wants to get its hands on the hospitals because it claims to have improved these facilities by investing billions of rupees.
There continues to be an impasse between the Sindh government and the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC), over the minimum percentage of success of the College of Medical and Dentist (MDCAT) Admission Test held last year.
The province reduced the pass percentage from 65% to 50% after negotiations with the commission failed. A court decision confirming the position of the PMC has now compromised the future of about 800 students who are admitted on less than 65 pc in Sindh.
“The minister’s profile is troubling and not related to this specialized area. This is likely to further worsen the state of health care, especially in Sindh. ‘said an experienced doctor, unwilling to be mentioned as he ran his clinic in Kemari, a major PPP stronghold.
Patel’s profile did not match that of the former minister, Dr. Faisal Sultan, who performed exceptionally well during his time in office, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Both Pakistan Muslim League N and the PPP are old political parties with multiple members who could have been better candidates for the position,” said Dr. Abdullah Muttaqi at the head of the Pakistani Islamic Medical Association (PIMA).
Dr. Sajjad stated that a major weakness in political appointments was that the appointee who did not have a good knowledge of the area assigned to him had to rely on his advisers.
In either case, he said, it would certainly be difficult for professionals to discuss health issues with the new minister. “I think a health minister should at least be a physician so that it is easy for medical experts to communicate issues.”
“Regardless of who holds the Federal ministry of health, PMA will raise its voice if merit is disregarded in the PMC matter,” said Dr.Sajjad.