ISLAMABAD: Apathy to public health care sounds horrendous amid the reports that funds over Rs 1 billion allocated for 14 mega projects of the health department Punjab have been returned to the finance department. Sources told the Daily Times that the Punjab government had taken back funds from the health department before time and had worked out a planning to spend them on projects of road construction and orange train.These funds were required to be returned to the finance department in the month of May as per rules but these were returned in April. Over Rs 22 billion funds were earmarked in the budget for the financial year 2015-16 for mega development projects of the health department in Punjab. PCI of these projects were worked out but the funds were not fully spent and were returned to the finance department on the pretext that these may go waste.According to the break up Rs 30 million were allocated for construction of a cancer hospital, Rs 80 million were allocated for construction of Lady Wallington Hospital, Rs 752.6 million were allocated for construction of kidney and liver institutes, Rs 50 million for reconstruction of De’ Montmorency College of Dentistry Lahore and Rs 100 million earmarked for construction of a waste management hospital were returned without being spent. Sources told the Daily Times that sub standard material was utilised in the construction of all the health department projects and even old bricks were used in the construction of the Children Hospital Multan.Punjab , the largest province of the country is highly backward in terms of health facilities. The entire province relies on major hospitals located in Lahore for providing treatment to the people. Thousands of patients breath their last in utter helplessness due to lack of timely treatment facilities in the hospitals in Punjab. The ratio of Hepatitis B and C infected patients in Punjab is higher than in other provinces.Returning over one billion rupees funds of the health department to the finance department ahead of stipulated time and non spending, a single penny out of this huge allocation by the Punjab government is a question mark on the performance of the provincial government against the backdrop of its tall claims for providing state of the art health facilities to the common man.The Punjab government is spending 0.7 per cent of the GDP in the health sector which places Pakistan at No 187 in the Human Index Ranking and only Afghanistan is ahead of Pakistan in this ranking.