LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Specialised Healthcare & Medical Education (SHME) Khawaja Salman Rafique has directed the SHME officers to ensure provision of clean drinking water at all public sector hospitals as well as medical educational institutions, provision of free medicines in the emergency wards, Infection Control & Hospital Waste Management in the light of the orders of Supreme Court of Pakistan. The minister in this regard chaired a high level meeting of all the heads of medical educational institutions and the medical superintendents of teaching hospitals and specialised healthcare institutions on Monday. SHME Secretary Najam Ahmad Shah, special secretary Usman Muazam, concerned officers of the department, experts from Public Health Department, Water & Sanitation Agency (WASA), Punjab Food Authority (PFA), Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), vice chancellors of medical universities, principals of medical colleges and the medical euperintendents and executive directors of teaching hospitals and specialised health facilities participated in the video link meeting. The public health chief engineer, technical expert of WASA and PCRWR briefed the participants regarding the method and standar operating procedures of water quality checking, cleanliness of water tanks and water reservoirs, checking of water resource and chlorination. Dr Rafia Haider of PFA informed that the representatives of PFA have collected the water samples from teaching hospitals for laboratory analysis. Najam Ahmad Shah directed the heads of medical institutions to conduct a survey/analysis of water resource of their institution/hospital and if there is any problem with regard to the water action should be taken according to the recommendations of the experts either deep boring of the tube well or installation of water filtration plant. He also directed that a responsible official also be deputed for watch and ward for the provision of safe drinking water to the patients and their attendants. He said that no compromise would be made on the provision of clean drinking water in the medical educational institutions and the hospitals. The secretary warned the head of the institutions that inspection team of the department or any other institution may visit the hospital for random checking of quality of drinking water. Shah asked the participants of the meeting to ensure all the measures for this purpose within a month and heads of the institutions have to submit a certificate to specialised healthcare department for ensuring provision of safe drinking water, provision of free medicine in the emergency wards and infection control. The meeting reviewed the arrangements and steps taken for the disposal of hospital waste management, functioning of incinerators and provision of free medicine. The heads of the institutions informed that 100 percent free medicine is being provided in the emergency wards of the hospitals, however in outdoor and indoor departments free medicine up to 80 percent is available. It was informed that some results of medicines are lying pending with the Drug Testing Laboratories (DTLs) however the hospital management is in contact with the officials of DTLs for early lab tests of the medicines. Shah asked the heads of the institutions that they should take the issues regarding the provision of clean drinking water, infection control and provision of free medicines in emergency wards seriously and every institution must constitute a committee as third party which should monitor all these arrangements regularly and submit a report to the head of the institution. Khawaja Salman Rafique revealed that the honourable Supreme Court has also directed the DTL to complete the laboratory test of pending medicines within a month. All the teaching hospitals informed the progress in hospital waste management and installation of incinerators individually. Salman Rafique directed the officers that they should ensure provision of clean drinking water and should get guidance from the experts of Public Health Department, PCRWR and WASA. Published in Daily Times, April 17th 2018.