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    Pakistan committed to improving health outcome of People and building Healthcare Word – Abdul Qadir Patel

    Pakistan committed to improving health outcome of People and building Healthcare Word – Abdul Qadir Patel

    Chitral Times Report

    ISLAMABAD: The Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly is being held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 21–30 May 2023. Honourable Federal Minister for Health Abdul Qadir Patel attending 75th World Health Assembly While addressing the WHA, he said Pakistan immense sense of responsibility and commitment towards improving the health outcomes of their people while building together a healthier, safer, and fairer world. He congratulated DG WHO and his remarkable team of experts and member states on the 75th anniversary of WHO.

    This anniversary signifies an important moment in global collaboration, when countries of the world came together and founded WHO, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable, he said. We highly appreciate and endorse the DG WHO report, which has outlined the key priorities to be focused upon within the health sector, that is, enhancing Universal Health Coverage, tackling Health Emergencies & ensuring the Health & Wellbeing of our people.

    In this regard, we endorse the recommendation of the report. We believe, that it would be critical for reorienting health systems to primary health care, as a resilient foundation for universal health coverage, by integrating within it; protection from health emergencies ; increasing access to quality drugs ; strengthening diagnostics capacity ; prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and mental health and strengthening rehabilitation services in health systems.

    Sustainable Development Goal 3 demands the achievement of universal health coverage by providing access to its people to quality essential health services without financial hardship. In this regard, Pakistan has signed the UHC-2030 Global Compact and endorsed the Salalah Declaration on UHC and country has also set a target to increase its UHC Service Coverage Index from 52 in 2022 to 62 by 2030. Pakistan has now moved towards implementation of its essential package of health services during 2023, with enhanced investments by the government while some of the financial gaps are filled by the development partners.

    Considering the health workforce crises in Pakistan, the government has decided to increase the no of community-based lady health workers from 89,000 to 135,000 within 5 years. Pakistan considers Implementation of international health regulations (IHR) as a priority agenda as we have faced a number of health emergencies, including Covid 19 pandemic, mpox, Polio, floods, earthquakes & heat waves etc. The MoNHSR&C is cognizant of the fact that building and sustaining essential public health core capacities are critical for national responses to public health events.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that not only public health systems across the countries have been challenged, but it has also tested the capabilities of other sectors and reflected on the level of preparedness of our health systems against pandemics and public health emergency events. Pakistan, is the only country in the region, which while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, had to shoulder another disaster in the shape of massive flooding during 2022, displacing 30 million people, destroying crops, damaging health infrastructure and causing considerable loss of around US$ 20 Billion.

    We highly appreciate the Global Community and especially Secretary General, United Nations General Assembly, for supporting Pakistan. In order to further strengthen public health systems preparedness, for an efficient respond to pandemics, emergencies and disasters, the country is undergoing 2nd round of Joint External Evaluation to identify the critical gaps and provide key recommendations for developing health security plan. We are also committed to developing synergies between health security and universal health coverage for a more sustainable response in the country. Though, Pakistan has faced challenges in terms of health outcomes, we resolve to continue to work tirelessly, to improve the health and well-being of our people which would require a multi-sectoral approach & empowering the communities.

    In this regard addressing the social determinants of health, such as poverty, inequality, and discrimination, can have a significant impact on health outcomes. Government has initiated no of social protection schemes like Benazir Income Support Programme and Health Card to address poverty and inequality.

    The United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition has given a new direction in global nutrition action: to eradicate hunger, and malnutrition in all its forms in order to avoid long-term consequences for the country’s economic and social development. It is unfortunate, that we have significant burden of under 5 children who are stunted and anaemic, while the prevalence of overweight among children under five is also on the rise. Several nutrition programs are being implemented in the provinces, to address malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.

    However, significant resources are required to address this immense challenge. Meanwhile, we have also been successful in getting the increase in duties and taxes as per WHO guidelines on sugar-sweetened beverages. With personal oversight and support from the honourable Prime Minister and myself as Federal Minister, Pakistan continues to make consistent progress towards stopping the transmission and eradication of Polio-virus. Only one Polio case has been reported so far in 2023, from a bordering district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    Special plan is being implemented in coordination and collaboration of district administration and security agencies in Southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to ensure a safe working environment for the frontline Polio workers to reach all children under five. In addition, aggressive Polio vaccination campaign schedule is being implemented in the country (nationwide & sub-national campaigns). Close coordination with the Afghanistan Polio Program is being maintained for the vaccination of population on the move between two countries and the ones residing in bordering areas and settlements.

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