Punjab hikes health sector budget by 14pc 

Punjab hikes health sector budget by 14pc 

LAHORE: Hiking the health allocation by 14 percent as compared to last year’s, the Punjab government has earmarked a sum of Rs539.15 billion for the sector in its budget for the fiscal year 2024-25.

Of the total amount, Rs510.55 billion has been allocated for non-development expenditures, reflecting a 15pc increase over the 2023-24 allocation. Meanwhile, Rs128.60 billion has been designated for developmental expenditures, representing an 11pc increase for the current year.

An allocation of Rs86 billion has been reserved for the development budget of the Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Department.

Chief Minister Maryam stated, "Rural health has historically been neglected. For the first time, all health centers across Punjab are being revitalized. Initiatives such as Field Hospitals, Clinics on Wheels, free home delivery of medicines, and free provision of medicines in hospitals have been well-received by the public."

For the Primary & Secondary Healthcare Department, Rs42.60 billion has been earmarked for the next fiscal year, marking a substantial 54pc increase from the current year's allocation. Additionally, Rs16 billion has been allocated for the revamp of Basic Health Units (BHUs) and Rural Health Centers (RHCs) under Phase-I, with Rs7.50 billion allocated for Phase-II in the next fiscal year.

Meanwhile, an allocation of Rs55.40 billion has been made for providing free medicines in emergency units and outpatient departments (OPDs) of all hospitals.

Among the major projects in the health sector, Rs56 billion has been allocated for the Nawaz Sharif Institute of Cancer Treatment and Research, Rs8.84 billion for the Nawaz Sharif Institute of Cardiology, Rs450 million for the launch of the Air Ambulance Service, Rs1 billion for the Clinic on Wheels projects, Rs10 billion for launching the Smog-free and Climate Resilient Punjab initiative, and Rs2 billion for screening programs aimed at preventing disabilities in children.