Pakistan committed to improve health facilities: Health Minister

ISLAMABAD:Minister for National Health Services, Abdul Qadir Patel has expressed government’s commitment to improve health facilities in the country. Addressing the World Health Assembly in Geneva, the minister said Pakistan has now moved towards the implementation of its essential package of health services during this year, with enhanced investments by the government.

According to a statement issued here on Wednesday, he said the government has decided to increase the number of community-based lady health workers from 89,000 to 135,000 within five years. Abdul Qadir Patel said Pakistan considers the implementation of international health regulations as a priority agenda as it has faced a number of health emergencies, including Covid 19 pandemic, Polio, floods, earthquakes and heat waves.

The Health Minister also attended side line meeting organized by the new established Pandemic Fund at Geneva Pandemic Fund Board that will be reset in May 2023 for which Pakistan was approached by the Fund's Secretariat to either relinquish or retain the Co-investor seat. The meeting was informed that after deliberations at Finance Division and Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Pakistan formally opted to retain the seat.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been requested to start canvassing with respective foreign relations ministries of the regional countries. Pakistan has organized a formal regional consultation on May 23, 2023 in order to put forward its candidature for its constituency and to elicit the support of the countries in EMRO region. Abdul Qadir Patel said that WHO being our core health partner, has also come forward to support Pakistan in providing technical guidance and input for developing Pakistan’s proposal for the first Call of Proposal (FCFP) and also coordinating at the regional level with other countries and respective WHO country offices to support Pakistan’s decision to retain the sovereign co-investor seat.

Abdul Qadir Patel addressing the participants said that Pakistan will promote and protect the interest of the constituent countries individually and collectively in the region. “Taking this opportunity, I would like the pandemic fund to advocate by aiding Pakistan’s stance to muster support to retain our candidature as sovereign co-investor in the governing board of the Pandemic Fund”, the Minister said. He said Pakistan’s effective and efficient response to COVID-19 has been acknowledged across the globe and despite challenges Pakistan was able to vaccinate more than 90% of its eligible population against the deadly disease. He hoped that Pakistan’s performance and response to such a pandemic will lay out the foundation for additional support for strengthening Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response.