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ISLAMABAD: The caretaker Federal Minister for National Health Services and Regulations, Dr Nadeem Jan on Friday while suggesting the pharma industry to put full focus on countries in Africa, Central Asia, and Afghanistan to increase pharma sector exports, said that during his limited tenure as the caretaker minister, the ministry made strenuous efforts to bring reforms in the health sector.

Talking to the business community at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) here, the minister said that the caretaker government has taken various steps, including the digitization of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), the introduction of a new medicine pricing policy, and the search for new markets to promote exports.

He said that Pakistan's pharma sector has the potential to expand the country's exports. The industry should focus on exports to countries in Central Asia, Africa, and Afghanistan.

The minister said that it was his mission to bring reforms in the health sector for which he worked day and night, took practical steps to increase pharma exports for the betterment of the economy and took the Pharma Park project forward. He said that this project is of key importance to the industry which will promote the pharma industry.

He said that the business community should play its full role in the health sector and the services of the business community for the poor and backward people in hospitals should be exemplary. He said that philanthropists and investors in society should cooperate with the government in providing healthcare facilities to poor patients.

On the occasion, ICCI President Ahsan Bakhtawari appreciated the performance of the caretaker government and stressed that the next government should continue these positive policies. He presented several proposals for cooperation between the ICCI and the Ministry of Health. The ICCI president praised the digitization process of the DRAP. He stressed the need for the construction of nursing colleges in big cities, including Islamabad, in collaboration with the ICCI.

He said that Japan, Europe, and the US need millions of trained nurses every year, while Pakistan is not even able to produce nurses to meet its own needs. He said that the government should pay special attention to this sector. Special institutes for the training of nurses should be set up in big cities, including Islamabad, in collaboration with the ICCI.

He said that both the big hospitals in Islamabad are facing severe problems. He proposed that the business community should be given representation on the hospitals' boards. Transparency should be brought in funding, tendering, and financing. He agreed with the minister's proposals for the provision of medicines to patients in government hospitals and the provision of Iftar and Sehri during Ramazan.

The ICCI president said that the Ministry of Health should provide facilities for the import of raw materials for medicines so that the production of our industry can be increased and exports can be promoted.

The ICCI president said that the federal government should take steps to implement the single registration policy for medicines so that Pakistani companies in the African market do not have to go through the re-registration process.

On the occasion, ICCI Vice President Azharul Islam said that health is a basic issue of human life, but this sector is facing severe financial problems in Pakistan. The Ministry of Health should involve the business community in policy-making so that the problems can be solved.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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