Soft loan schemes must be launched, says minister

LAHORE: Immediate steps should be taken to launch soft and small loan schemes for young doctors and house officers to set up their clinics and purchase equipment.

This was stated by Provincial Minister for Specialised Healthcare & Medical Education Khwaja Salman Rafique as he presided over a meeting of the Punjab Health Foundation’s Board of Governors on Thursday.

Specialised Healthcare Secretary Najam Ahmed Shah, Special Secretary Dr Sajid Mehmood Chohan and other officials also attended the meeting.

The minister directed officials to initiate an awareness campaign through media to motivate unemployed doctors for set up clinics. He said that by establishing clinics in streets and neighbourhoods, the services of qualified doctors would be made available to the people and eradicate quackery from society.

On the occasion, the board approved an increase in salaries of daily wages employees of the foundation and ordered that a notification be issued  by the finance department to follow the schedule.

Punjab Health Foundation (PHF) Managing Director Ajmal Bhatti told the participants that up to Rs0.7 million loans were being provided without property mortgage on the basis of documents and personal guarantee.

“Recovery of PHF loans is 100% while soft loans of Rs0.2 million are also being offered to nurses and other paramedics to establish their set ups.”

The meeting also reviewed cases of waving the loan amount surcharge of such doctors who had either died or were seriously ill. However, the board advised the PHF to put up these cases in the next meeting along with complete documents.

Health Secretary Najam Ahmed Shah directed the PHF MD to accelerate the performance of the Punjab Health Foundation.

He said general practitioners and young doctors should be sensitised over loan schemes of the foundation. To this end, an SMS could be generated by using the data of the GPs available with the health department.

A proposal also discussed in the meeting suggested that PHF establish an urban health centre as a pilot project in the city. The urban health centre would be attached with a teaching hospital.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2018. 

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