Text of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari speech at inauguration ceremony of NICVD

Bismillah ir Rehman ir Rahim
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Assalam Alaikum
It gives me great pleasure to be here today. As I was travelling to Larkano for the inauguration of National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) here, I realized that there was little else that I would rather do. I am so pleased that Larkano was chosen as a home for this state of the art facility, given how close it is to my heart individually, and how important it is to the Pakistan Peoples Party. Larkano has given more sacrifices and shed more blood than should have been required. The people of this inimitable land seem to be born infused with the spirit of giving. That we are able to give back to this land that has given us so much, is a matter of great pride for me.

My grandfather Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, first began giving back to this land when he opened the Chandka medical college and hospital in 1973. At a time when such medical facilities existed only in large cities, this visionary breakthrough served the people of the greater Larkano region and adjoining areas of Punjab and Balochistan. We have taken forth his mission by increasing the capacity of the hospital through expansion and upgradation.

The Pakistan Peoples Party prides itself on always recognizing healthcare as one of its major priorities. In her message to young people, to whom the mantle of leadership would pass, my leader, my mother Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, tasked them to focus on education and on health. And taking her words as our guiding light, we have concentrated our efforts on these 2 sectors – I am happy to say that our hard work is showing great results. It was Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who saw the need for lady health workers, as a means for healthcare to reach every doorstep. This phenomenal programme allowed us to spread the web of healthcare more extensively than we thought possible. And the Sindh government took forth the programme by regularizing all the lady health workers.

We believe strongly that while infrastructure development needs to be a focus for the government, our true purpose must be human development. To this end, we have invested our efforts towards improving healthcare through various endeavors including but not limited to upgradation of hospitals and trauma centers; establishment of cardiac centers, expansion of women and children’s hospitals; provision of ambulances and other facilities; introducing safer transfusion methods and unequivocally supporting projects like the SIUT and NICVD. And it is so rewarding when we see our hard work paying off, like it is today.
NICVD has done great work by providing state of the art services to people of Larkano. Earlier, there was no such service between Karachi and Lahore, and people had to suffer as they travelled to Karachi along with their families – often spending money they could not afford. I have learnt that the facilities now being provided in Larkano are free for all patients.

I am told that currently this facility is providing primary angioplasty, pediatric cardiology and echo services and upon completion of the new building, a range of services will be provided, including cardiac surgery.

I must congratulate the team since 100 primary angioplasty procedures have already been done post the soft opening on 13th of May 2017. It goes a long way to show the grit and determination of this team, and of the person heading it, that positive results are already visible for all. I am confident that this number will now increase substantially, as the people of Larkano continue to benefit from NICVD.

It has come to my knowledge that a similar service is also being started in Tando Mohammad Khan, Sukkur, Sehwan, Nawabshah, Khairpur and Mirpurkhas. I must appreciate the Government of Sindh for taking the initiative of providing quality affordable healthcare to the people of these areas. I challenge the CM of Punjab, KPK and Baluchistan to show us a programme like this where state of the art cardiac facilities, including primary angioplasty, are provided free of cost, and at the doorstep, to everyone living in the province.

It is a source of great pride to know that NICVD has transformed itself in last two and half years, and today it stands as the world’s largest centre for heart attack angioplasty. This is no small feat, and has required utmost dedication and hard work. We must never forget that a healthy nation is a happy nation, and it is heartening to see the NICVD team working to ensure that.

The fact that NICVD provides several life saving treatment modalities, including much needed pediatric cardiac surgery free of cost is testament to the Sindh government’s whole-hearted commitment to serve the people indiscriminately. It is gratifying that the Sindh government is working tirelessly to fulfill the vision of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. We have seen the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto trauma centre in Karachi, the Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences, Ambulance service in Thatta and Sujawal, as but a few examples of the government’s efforts bearing fruit.

It is my dream also to serve the people of Pakistan, irrespective of caste, creed, color and financial standing. It is my dream that every individual in this country has access to state of the art medical care so that not one life is lost because they could not afford healthcare. It is my dream, nay, my belief, that together we can cultivate an egalitarian society, based on the principles of parity and equitable justice; tolerance and acceptance; service and sacrifice.

I once again want to say BRAVO to the government of Sindh, especially the Chief Minister, for this magnificent effort. I am confident that it will provide much needed relief to the people, and I hope that a similar effort is also launched in other specialties of medicine.

I must take this opportunity to talk about something that is surely weighing on the minds of the people of Pakistan today – the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The judgment by the Supreme Court requires adherence by us all. However, we must also strive to address the ailment and not the symptom. The Pakistan Peoples Party believes that accountability must be impartial and exhaustive, and seeks to do so by introducing legislation for across the board accountability. It is time for us all to put Pakistan first, and ourselves later. If that means sacrificing for the greater good, then be it. Sadly, Prime Minister Sharif did not share this sentiment. However, I must categorically say that his removal poses no threat to either the Parliament, or to the democracy for which we have made innumerable sacrifices.

I thank you for the opportunity to address you, and wish you good luck in this very worthy endeavor.”


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