WHO, GAVI donate 32 vehicles to EPI

Parvez Jabri December 18, 2018

ISLAMABAD: World Health Organization (WHO) and GAVI Monday donated 32 vehicles to Ministry of Nation Health Services Regulations and Coordination for its Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI).

The ceremony was attended by Minister for National Health Services Regulations and Coordination Aamer Mehmood Kiani and WHO Regional Director Dr Ahmed Salim Saif Al-Mandhari. These vehicles will be handed over to the provinces.

Speaking on this occasion, the WHO regional director appreciated the government of Pakistan and Ministry of National Health Services for successful completion of measles drive throughout the country.

Aamer Kiani said the monitoring of immunization campaigns in provinces will be further strengthened. He said the government has already taken steps to protect the children from various diseases including polio, measles, meningitis and so on.

He said besides routine immunization drives, the ministry has also successfully completed special immunization drives to control diseases.

Earlier, Dr Ahmed Salim Saif Al-Mandhari, currently on a four-day visit to Pakistan, called on Federal Health Minister Aamer Mehmood Kiani along with his delegation.

He, who heads a WHO Region comprising 22 countries, expressed appreciation for the health reforms being introduced by the present government and pledged all out support in strengthening the health system in Pakistan.

Talking to the visiting dignitary Aamer Mehmood Kiani said under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government is committed to strengthen the health sector and the allocation for health is being significantly enhanced.

The government has decided to scale up health insurance program to all districts of the country. “By the end of 2019, we will be covering around 50 percent of the population with health cards.”

The benefits package has been doubled with additional services included. To achieve Universal Health Coverage, family practice approach is being piloted in 12 districts, across all provinces with the support of WHO.

He said for the first time health tax is being introduced by the government. This will go long way in reducing smoking prevalence, increasing revenues and financing health-care while improving quality of patient care and services in hospitals is being given special attention.

The government is focusing on strengthening the immunization program and improving its coverage to protect mother and children from deadly diseases. The recently held measles campaign is the best ever in terms of coverage which is also validated by third party.

The government is committed to strengthen International Health Regulations core capacities. In this regard, 18 non-functional Points of Entry at international borders are being made functional and strengthened.

He said the government is fully committed to the goal of eradication of polio from Pakistan and special attention is being given to polio reservoirs.

A real-time Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response system is being piloted in selected districts across the country for effective prevention, case detection and response against disease outbreaks.

He added that health system in Islamabad has been integrated for improved efficiency and better health outcomes.

He said the ministry has prioritized TB and HIV, in order to reduce the burden of both TB and HIV in the country.

The regional director said Pakistan is the largest country in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region and success in Pakistan reflects the success of entire region.

He said Pakistan was a key player in the region adding that no effort will be spared in supporting Pakistan to strengthen its health system.

WHO Regional Polio Chief Dr Chris Maher and Director Health System Development Dr Zafar Mirza accompanied the regional director.

A detailed technical briefing was given to the visiting dignitary by Director General Health Dr Assad Hafeez on steps being taken to transform the health sector. Health Secretary Capt (R) Zaid Saeed apprised about major initiatives being undertaken by the ministry to improve health care.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2018

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