LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) instead of any financial aid should only provide its technical assistance, as public welfare projects would be completed from indigenous resources of the Punjab government.
Talking to a high-level delegation of the UNICEF, the chief minister appreciated the cooperation rendered by the UNICEF for mother and child health schemes, basic education and other sectors. He also informed that sufficient results were achieved by the Punjab government in its anti-polio campaigns and drives to overcome the deaths of newborn children.
Shehbaz said that funds would be provided for innovative schemes of health and education sectors, and the projects would be completed by benefitting from the professional capabilities of UNICEF’s experts.
The chief minister also said that an organised programme of consummate cleanliness in villages across the province was launched for the first time in the history of the country and the project would be continued in the future as well.
He also said that thousands of tons of solid waste were removed under the “Saaf Dehaat Programme” and the programmes’ success was ensured through third-party monitoring.
“The establishment of filter clinics in remote hinterlands will not only benefit the people, but the correct and timely utilisation of government funds will also be ensured. Due to the efforts of the Punjab government, a new culture of public service delivery has been introduced in the public sector hospitals and now the people prefer public sector hospitals,” said the chief minister.
He also told that the provision of higher education was being ensured not only for the bright but also the deserving students through PEEF, and the government had provided 40 thousand tablets to schools for bringing improvements in their standards of education.
The meeting was told that the UNICEF was providing training to the staff of more than four thousand union councils in the province and 34 water filtration plants were being established initially for the provision of clean drinking water. Similarly, the provision of clean drinking water to the people was being ensured through the chlorination project in all the water supply schemes of the province.
UNICEF Regional Director Jean Gough at the meeting presented a proposal of providing technical assistance to Punjab for clean drinking water, sanitation, health, education and other projects. She termed Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif as a visionary leader and said that owing to his leadership abilities Punjab had a remarkable lead over other provinces in education, healthcare and other social sectors.
UNICEF Country Director Aida Girma-Melakuis, UNICEF Punjab Chief Field Officer Douglas G Higgins, Health Specialist Dr Tahir Manzoor, additional chief secretary (C&W), housing secretary, P&S health secretary and other concerned officials were present on the occasion.