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KARACHI: The US government has presented a mobile biosafety laboratory to the Sindh Department of Health to strengthen capacity to diagnose COVID-19 and other communicable diseases, especially in Pakistan’s remote locations where there is limited capacity to monitor and test for potential outbreaks of infectious disease. This state-of-the-art laboratory will improve the accuracy of diagnoses, reduce testing turnaround time, and better protect healthcare workers.

US Consul General Mark Stroh and Sindh Minister for Health and Population Welfare Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho participated in the handover ceremony, along with other officials from the Sindh Department of Health. The Sindh ceremony follows a larger ceremony on July 6, in which US Ambassador Donald Blome handed over four mobile laboratories in Islamabad to Pakistan’s National Institute of Health.

“I am pleased to present this mobile bio safety laboratory to the health leadership of the Government of Sindh to serve the people of Sindh as well as Balochistan,” Consul General Mark Stroh said. “This mobile lab will enable the Pakistani government to respond quickly and effectively in hard-to-reach remote areas during emergencies, an outbreak, or an epidemic.”

Consul General Stroh also commended all of Pakistan’s health care workers for their effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in particular, Sindh’s successful vaccination campaigns. Minister Azra Pechuho expressed gratitude for the US government’s ongoing support through USAID on improving health services in the province, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US government has worked to save lives and contain the outbreak in more than 120 countries, including Pakistan. Ongoing US assistance to Pakistan provides emergency relief, strengthens health systems, supports vaccine readiness and distribution, improves public health education, and protects health care workers and facilities.

The United States has donated to Pakistan more than 77 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, one million COVID-19 rapid diagnostic tests, and critical health supplies. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to vaccine doses, the US government has provided nearly $70.4 million in direct support and $13.8 million in in-kind support to assist the Pakistani people in the fight against COVID-19. An additional $20 million in USAID funding is also planned to support vaccination efforts in Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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