Punjab Govt Establishes Rs 5 Billion Endowment Fund For PKLI&RC

Punjab Govt Establishes Rs 5 Billion Endowment Fund For PKLI&RC

LAHORE: The Standing Committee of Cabinet on Finance and Development (SCCFD) had approved the formation of endowment fund for Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute and Research Centre (PKLI&RC) with the provision of Rs 5 billion for CFY 2022-2023, as advised by Finance Department, The Friday Times (TFT) has learnt.

This amount will be contributed into the PKLI&RC’s endowment fund through inter/intra-sectoral reappropriation.

Sources privy to this development confirmed that the committee further directed that the administrative department shall frame rules for management of Endowment funds in consultation with the Finance Department providing clear guidelines for investment and spending as well as oversight mechanisms.

A senior official who was part of the meeting stated that the decision was taken in the 4th meeting of SCCFD held at Committee room at GOR-I and the meeting was chaired by the Chief Minister Punjab Syed Mohsin Raza Naqvi.

What is PKLI&RC doing? 

Sources privy to this development confirmed that secretary Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education (SHC&ME) department briefed the SCCFD that PKLI&RC was a quaternary care health institute which has been providing state of the art healthcare services in defined fields since 2018. The PKLI&RC was run under the PKLI&RC Act, 2019.

During the meeting the committee was further apprised that as regards its operational cost, the Punjab government provided an annual grant-in-aid to the PKLI&RC, which was Rs 5 billion for the current financial year 2022-2023.

A senior official said that a team of highly qualified medics and paramedics had been hired in the PKLI&RC, for most optimal results, through a special selection board as provided under section 22 of the act ibid.

He maintained that moreover, in light of sections 5,6 and 11 of the PKLI&RC Act 2019, the affairs of PKLI&RC were managed by a board of Governors, which was lastly notified on February 15, 2023 after approval of the provincial cabinet.

During the meeting secretary SHC&ME further apprised the board that the CEO of the institute was the Dean, and the current Dean Professor Faisal Dar had been working there very dedicatedly since 2021.

He stated that during the last five years, despite rapid changes at the board level, PKLI&RC attained major achievements.

“356 liver transplants with more than 95% success rate and 431 kidney transplants with more than 98% success rate were a huge testimony to the timely and worthwhile decision of the then government to establish this state of the art facility,” Dar added.

Patients previously used to go for treatment to India and China

It was further discussed that previously, for such treatments, the patients had to travel abroad largely to India and China, which was an expensive affair.

Sources further stressed understandably, not every patient could afford such treatment, and hence had to live with the disease and its sub-optimal treatment.

PKLI&RC all set to become hub of medical tourism in the region

“Additional high-end services like bone marrow transplant, robotic surgeries and advanced diagnostics like PET scan etc. were also part of the PKLI&RC’s modernizing plan,” a senior official who was part of the meeting told TFT while adding that the hospital was also advancing rapidly towards attaining the internationally renowned JCI accreditation, which would boost its potential as a hub of medical tourism in the region.

PKLI&RC’s free treatment to 41% of all patients 

Sources who were part of the meeting shared that it was also discussed that realising PKLI&RC should provide free treatment to the poor patients, the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during his visit to the PKLI&RC in April-May 2022 decided that at least 50 percent of the patients treated therein should be 100 free.

In result of this decision, the PKLI&RC management devleloped a mechanism of financial evaluation of patients and with the extended fiscal support from the Punjab government led by CM Naqvi. “PKLI&RC had now achieved the figure of 41 percent totally free patients and another 34 percent partially free patients totalling 75 percent,” a senior official maintained.

He further stated that around 25 percent patients, receiving treatment in PKLI&RC, were paying 100 percent cost of treatment.

Sources recalled that during the meeting it was also informed that the premier along with chief minister Punjab held a meeting with the new BOG members of PKLI&RC on February 19, 2023.

While appreciating the progress made by the said Institute thus far, the premier re-emphasized that 50 percent of the total patients being treated in PKLI&RC should get 100 percent free treatment.

PM Shehbaz reiterated that the real purpose of establishing the institute was that a poor person might not be denied healthcare of such nature on grounds of affordability.

“Without travelling abroad, he might receive the best possible treatment here in Pakistan,” sources quoted PM saying this while also recalling that at the same time, he emphasized that an endowment fund for PKLI&RC might also be created at the earliest assuring regular income for the said Institute through returns on investment.

PM Shehbaz had mentioned that if the Punjab government could contribute a reasonable sum into such endowment fund (around Rs 15 billion), it would be a very proper beginning.

Accordingly, the SCCFD took the above mentioned decisions.

The writer is a senior correspondent at The Friday Times with a focus on politics, economy and militancy.