ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi Monday said increase in spending on the social sector was a priority of the government which had undertaken a number of initiatives in the health sector.
He said the budget allocation for health had been increased to 2pc from the current 0.9pc of the GDP towards the attainment of Universal Health Care and sustainable development health related goals.
The president was talking to World Health Organization Regional Director Dr Ahmed Salim Saif Al-Mandhari and UNICEF SEARO Regional Director Jean Gough, who called on him, a press release said. Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Aamer Mehmood Kiani was also present on the occasion.
The president said the incumbent government had recently taken a major initiative in expanding the Health Card Scheme for the poor to include 80 million more individuals across the country.
He emphasized that Pakistan was fully committed to polio eradication and Pakistan achieved a tremendous progress in stopping polio virus transmission, reducing the cases to eight so far this year.
He expressed his gratitude to the international community for their support to the efforts being made in Pakistan.
He further said Pakistan was committed to the United Nations high level meeting declaration on TB and to achieve the SDG/ End TB targets to root out Tuberculosis by 2030.
President Dr Arif Alvi said Pakistan was committed to strengthening family planning (FP) programme aiming to achieve pledges towards FP 2020 and SDGs which would also lead to improving maternal, newborn and child health indicators of Pakistan.
He also highlighted Pakistan's commitment to fight against malaria, leishmaniasis, dengue and other vector borne diseases, posing threat to the health of millions and achieve the goal of elimination and effective control of these diseases by 2030.
The president underlined that they were fully committed to the integration of non-communicable diseases and mental health into primary health care and implementation of WHO Best Buys. He expressed desire to seek WHO's support for coming up with “National Action Plan" in context of Universal Health Coverage, quality of care through family practice & nutrition, because of prevailing high malnutrition status in the country.
He said Pakistan, with the help of WHO, wanted to increase the coverage of routine immunization, achieve equitable access to immunization services especially in the slum and rural areas and to enhance the monitoring and accountability at all levels down to the district.
The president also urged media and religious scholars to play their constructive role in creating awareness among the masses regarding polio, population control and hygiene.