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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is all set to host first-ever Global Health Security Summit which is likely to be held in October 2023 aiming to strengthen disease response and surveillance systems in developing nations.

A high-level meeting in this connection was concluded the other day at the Ministry of National Health Services and Regulations presided over by the Federal Secretary Health, Iftikhar Shallwani, to review the preparations for the global moot.

The meeting was informed by the director general of Health that the summit will include various health experts and donors and develop a strategy to fight the disease before it spreads. The prime minister has accorded approval to holding the summit later this year which will bring together 500 participants including around 70 country delegates.

The meeting was attended by senior health officials, leading public health experts, and representatives of partner agencies. Pakistan is the current chair of the Global Health Security Agenda and hosting this conference will enable the country to showcase strong resolve and commitment to the cause of saving our people and the global community from pandemics, Shallwani said while addressing the participants.

He emphasized the importance of vaccine equity and advised wealthy nations to donate 40 percent of their vaccine supplies to developing nations in the event of a pandemic. He further stated that Pakistan has started strengthening relations with countries such as South Africa and Brazil to enhance vaccination production capacity, in a bid to effectively address any epidemic-like situation.

Global health security is crucial for a variety of reasons, saying that it not only increases capacity but also successfully avoids, detects, and responds to pandemics, he said and added although Pakistan has a wealth of knowledge in the healthcare field, it still needs to deal with a variety of illnesses such as TB, polio, diabetes, and hepatitis.

He said that the government of Pakistan is committed eradicating the spread of the polio virus in the country by December 2023, saying the country is a resilient nation and has together done formidably well in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

There is a great deal that Pakistan can contribute to the knowledge and experience of the global community in the fight against pandemics, he added. Pakistan has most recently faced the ravages of unprecedented floods and the resultant spread of disease.

The recent pandemic has shown that the spread of infectious diseases in any part of the world is a threat to the entire global community. Therefore, it is a shared responsibility, the meeting was told.

The meeting agreed on the thematic areas to be discussed in the summit which will include several panel discussions. A number of committees were constituted by the secretary health to ensure the holding of the mega event in a befitting manner. The international moot will culminate in the issuance of an “Islamabad Declaration” that would reflect the global commitment to fighting the spread of disease in unison and ensuring an optimal level of preparation through a stronger and resilient health infrastructure, Shallwani maintained.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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