The establishment of a Primary Health Directorate by the government is intended to lessen the burden of disease on hospitals by providing patients with essential services at first-level medical institutions.
According to officials, the Punjab province has already established such a department, which has improved fundamental health metrics.
They said that Taimur Khan Jhagra, the health minister, has already attended a few meetings in this regard. To launch province-wide initiatives for the prevention and control of diseases and epidemics like dengue and Covid-19, etc., the directorate will report to the director-general of health services and have a doctor from the BPS-20 management cadre as its head.
To ensure that minor illnesses are treated at the level of first health facilities and that only serious patients are forwarded to secondary and tertiary care hospitals for specialized treatment, the proposal being considered by the health department also includes three deputy directors and support staff.
The initiative aims to enhance community-based basic health units up to tehsil headquarters hospitals and offer patients preventive care.
According to officials, there is currently no such system in place, so patients are free to receive care anywhere they choose. They claimed that it added to the load on secondary and tertiary care facilities, which are generally required to handle complicated and persistent situations.
With the establishment of the directorate, healthcare will shift from selective to comprehensive primary healthcare, eradicating a variety of diseases that, due to a lack of an adequate system, repeat locally and worsen into serious health problems. Also discussed with the finance department was the written concept paper for the directorate.
The health minister has given the go-ahead for working on the proposal to improve immunization, mother and child health, reduce cases of TB, HIV/Aids, malaria, and leishmaniasis, along with taking steps to promote healthy activities like instilling the habit of exercise among the people and ensuring appropriate dietary regimes for them, especially pregnant women, to reduce maternal and infant mortality rate and malnourishment.
To Pakistan's commitments to the international community, the government is expected to take action to curb the population growth, according to officials.
They claimed that the Primary Health Directorate will serve as the provincial government's focal point for all public health initiatives. According to the current system, the health department is frequently held accountable for the increase in dengue, Covid-19, and other disease cases in the province, even though other departments are to blame for the causes of water and air pollution, poor sanitation, and a lack of electricity supply.
All of these initiatives will be led by the directorate to stop several epidemics. The health service also has difficulties treating illnesses caused by contaminated water, such as diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid.
The health service has been spending millions of dollars each month on vaccines thanks to international aid, but the illness still exists and plagues individuals.
According to officials, eliminating poliomyelitis and other diseases linked to dirty water necessitated a multi-sectoral strategy. Since the health department is there to provide treatment, cases of multi-drug-resistant typhoid and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis have been reported in Pakistan. These cases need to be prevented through a coordinated approach.
The planned Primary Health Directorate will implement a strong public health system that can prevent diseases like leishmaniasis, malaria, and others, according to officials.
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