NICVD and the people’s promise

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has laid foundation stone of yet another hospital, this time in Landhi, Karachi

Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari
National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (NICVD) building in Karachi. — Facebook/NICVD
National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (NICVD) building in Karachi. — Facebook/NICVD 

Providing free quality public healthcare has been a cornerstone of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) manifesto. The advancements in healthcare in Sindh, where the PPP is in government, bear testament to this commitment and its success has been unparalleled. Be it cardiac care, liver and kidney transplants, or bringing down infant mortality through pre- and neonatal care, the PPP remains at the forefront of providing free quality healthcare for all.

Under the PPP’s Sindh government, the National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (NICVD) has been strengthened into one of the strongest cardiac networks. It stands out as the largest network in the world, spread across 22 districts of Sindh with 10 hospitals and 24 chest pain units.

In addition to the ten hospitals across Sindh – Karachi, Tando Muhammad Khan, Hyderabad, Sehwan, Larkana, Sukkur, Nawabshah, Mithi, and Khairpur – PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has laid the foundation stone of yet another hospital, this time in Landhi, Karachi. The Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Cardiovascular Disease is set to be the world’s largest cardiac hospital with a 1,200-bed facility.

Many opponents are quick to tarnish the hard work and achievements of the PPP by peddling outright lies that the health sector is in ruins. Contrary to those claims, an entire cardiac network has been established across Sindh with a focus on giving free, quality cardiac care, not just to a few cities but across the entire province.

Treatments that cost thousands of dollars abroad have been made free and accessible due to the hard work of the PPP and under the leadership of Bilawal. Take angioplasty, a necessary medical procedure used to treat blocked or narrow blood vessels in the heart. Typically used for coronary artery disease, which occurs when there is a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which reduces blood flow to the heart, causing chest pains or potentially life-threatening heart attacks. Abroad, this procedure could cost anywhere between $11,000 and $30,000 or upwards. The average cost of this procedure in the UAE can cost AED45,000 for a single stent with AED15,000 being the cost per each additional stent.

It could be argued that why compare with international hospitals and not with a local private hospital. The reason is simply that the procedures available and standard of care at NICVDs across Sindh rival international standards.

Just in the past five years, approximately over 100,000 primary angioplasties and over 25,000 cardiac surgeries have been conducted in NICVDs across Sindh. Since 2021, stroke interventions are also available at NICVD, a first in public hospitals in Pakistan, and over 100 successful stroke interventions have been conducted. And NICVD doesn’t just cater to people from Sindh. Free quality healthcare is provided indiscriminately to people no matter where they hail from. Every year the number of patients from provinces other than Sindh increases as NICVD continues to provide free treatment across the board. Just in the last three years, over 800,000 patients from across Pakistan (excluding Sindh) have been treated at NICVD.

Despite the malicious allegations being circulated against the PPP and its leadership, the reality of the situation is that the PPP is the only party to have established such revolutionary treatment centres in Pakistan. The PPP and its Sindh government believe in improving public hospitals and today take pride in having the best cardiac, liver, kidney, and children’s hospitals in the country.

These hospitals aren’t restricted to one city but are spread across various districts of the province — providing free, quality healthcare to people’s doorsteps. Whether it’s Gambat Institute of Medical Science in Khairpur, providing free liver, kidney, bone marrow and cancer treatment, or the establishment of Child Life hospitals across Sindh, or JPMC CyberKnife robotic radio-surgery targeting cancer ranging from; brain, head, neck and spine, that abroad could cost $60,000-$90,000 and is available in Karachi, Pakistan for free, or any of the other health initiatives established by the PPP, the fact remains that it is only the Pakistan Peoples Party that remains committed to serving the people of Pakistan, regardless of religion, cast, creed or ethnicity.

The writer is late Benazir Bhutto’s younger daughter.

Originally published in The News