The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday suggested improvements in the provision of medicine to the needy through Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM). Provision of medical assistance to underprivileged should not be left to the staff of government-owned hospitals; it should be done through well-reputed private parties and medical stores, it said.
Medicines should be stamped and their packing and labels should be marked before delivery to discourage resale and forgery, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW. Presently, he said, needy contacts PBM about their requirement through social welfare staff of the hospitals.
After receiving a request, PBM verifies it and release cheque to the hospitals under Individual Financial Assistance Program. Subsequently the hospital staff hands over medicines to the applicant. The process takes some days to complete that needs to be accelerated, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal. However, complaints of unnecessary delay, provision of substandard, expired and fake drugs are commonplace; he said adding that quantity is sometimes compromised.
This practice has transformed into a profitable business in the major government hospitals that needs to be curbed. It tantamount to killing humanity including poor, disabled, widows and orphans, he said. Records of the patients treated under the PBM, Zakat and other welfare funds should be properly maintained, he said adding that thriving private health care business is ample proof of inefficiency of public sector facilities.
The tendency among destitute to leave in the middle of the treatment due to cost of medicine, diagnostic expanses or any other issues should be discouraged through a proper welfare system, he demanded.-Pakistan Economy Watch