April 23, 2021

How the KP Health Department Plans to Spend Rs. 3 Billion on Medical Equipment

Islamabad — From blood pressure monitors to X-ray equipment and wheel chairs, primary and secondary health-care facilities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) are about to get Rs. 3 billion worth of new medical equipment.

The procurement of the medical equipment is meant for nearly 800 medical centres, including 16 district headquarters hospitals (DHQs) and 655 basic health units (BHUs), across all KP districts.

In a letter dated 21 November available on the KP District Health Information System (DHIS) website, the Director General Health Services wrote to district health officers and medical superintendents of DHQs.

With the letter, the director general shared a list of approved medical equipment and a list of vendors selected by the health department to supply the medical equipment. The letter directed district officials to place orders for the equipment by 13 December.

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The KP provincial cabinet had approved the spending on 26 October, according to The Express Tribune.

Media for Transparency’s analysis of the data posted online by the DHIS shows the approved medical equipment accounts for just around 85% of the Rs. 3-billion amount mentioned in the health services letter. It is unclear where the remaining half billion rupees are planned to be spent.

The Equipment

The data suggests that three different varieties of blood pressure (BP) monitoring apparatus top the list of approved medical equipment along with drip stands and wheel chairs.

The district health-care facilities had submitted their demands to the provincial health department in a meeting chaired by health secretary Abid Majeed on 21 October, according to the health services letter.

Two types of the commonly used mercury-based BP set appear in the approved equipment list nearly 4,300 times altogether. Each set costs around Rs. 8,000.

Over 1,700 units of a more expensive 24-hour BP monitoring machine, which is worth Rs. 235,00o per unit, have also been approved.

In terms of overall estimated cost across districts, the 24-hour BP monitors, air purification systems, and X-ray plants will cost the health department Rs. 1.26 billion altogether.

Common items approved for purchase include hospital beds, patient trolleys, examination couches, and forceps.

However, the most expensive item by unit cost is the Mobile C-arm Image Intensifier, a flexible device used to get high-resolution X-ray scans in operating rooms.

A total of nine Mobile C-arms, which cost nearly Rs. 10 million apiece, have been approved by the health department. These will go to DHQs in districts Bunair, Chitral, Haripur, Lakki Marwat, Nowshera, and Tank, the City Hospital in Lakki Marwat, the Naseerullah Babar Memorial Hospital in Peshawar, and Bacha Khan hospital in Swabi.

Where is the Equipment Going?

The approved medical equipment will likely benefit 16 DHQs, two Tehsil Headquarters (THQs), 19 Category C Hospitals, 50 Category D Hospitals, 51 RHCs, and 655 BHUs in the province. These existing facilities are getting around Rs. 2 billion of the promised three-billion funding.

Eight KP districts are expected to receive over 100 million rupees in new medical equipment.

Among these districts, Chitral tops the list with Rs.127 million of approved funding.

In Chitral, nearly half of the money is planned to be spent on the DHQ hospital. One-fifth of the funds, or nearly Rs. 25 million, will buy new equipment for seven rural health centres (RHCs) in the district.

District Hangu is expected to receive the lowest spending, which will be disbursed to 14 BHUs, one RHC and one category C hospital in the district. The equipment approved for Hangu is worth Rs. 26 million. That is less than the amount being spent on equipment for the 19 BHUs and 7 RHCs alone of district Chitral.

District Mardan is not only getting around Rs. 124 million in approved medical equipment, but also five BHUs in the district are being upgraded to RHCs for a total expenditure of around Rs. 150 million.

The upgradation expenses include funds for equipment for operation theatres, labour rooms, and  blood banks as well as purchase of new ambulance vans.

Upgradation of existing medical facilities are also planned in district Swabi (one RHC to be converted into Category D Hospital, one Civil Hospital to Category C Hospital, one BHU to RHC), Dera Ismail Khan (one THQ to Category D Hospital), Nowshera (two BHUs to RHCs), Mansehra (one BHU to RHC), and Shangla (one BHU to RHC). Nearly Rs. 500 million is set aside for upgradation of facilities.

The KP government had allocated nearly Rs. 66 billion altogether for the health sector in the 2017-18 budget with around Rs. 14 billion for district health offices.


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