Pakistan, US to boost
WASHINGTON: Pakistan and United States will advance and deepen their health cooperation in immunization, nutrition, mother’s health, child survival, and health security across borders.
The two countries have also collaborated to develop a Centre for Disease Control in Pakistan.
Stated Abdul Qadir Patel, Federal Minister for National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination. He addressed the US-Pakistan Health Dialogue hosted by the US State Department, United States Agency for International Development, and Department of Health and Human Services.
Health Minister thanked the US administration for providing 61.5 million COVID vaccines, 16 million pediatric vaccines, and other equipment, including protective kits and ventilators in the country’s fight against the pandemic.
He said, “Pak-US cooperation during COVID pandemic demonstrated that a robust Pak-US partnership in the health sector could prove a bulwark against pandemic and diseases, thus saving millions of precious human lives.”
“Disease knows no boundaries. Therefore, a pandemic will not only be a challenge for a particular country but the region and beyond”, said the Health Minister.
Underlining Pakistan’s efforts toward polio eradication, the Minister emphasized that a holistic approach comprising immunization and mother and child nutrition was critical to the success of polio eradication efforts. In addition, he said that Pakistan was strengthening its Border Health Agency as part of its pursuits of the Global Health Security Agenda to monitor and counter cross-border movement of disease effectively.
The two sides pledged a greater exchange of information, expertise, and best practices in fighting diseases.
The US side appreciated Pakistan’s successful handling of the COVID pandemic and committed to continue its close collaboration with the country. In this regard, the United States, which has already provided 61.5 million COVID vaccines, will further donate 16 million doses of pediatric Pfizer vaccines to Pakistan. In addition, USAID pledges $ 20 million to support Pakistan’s vaccination efforts.
The Dialogue also highlighted the donation of four mobile testing labs by the United States that would augment Pakistan’s capacity to diagnose COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, especially in remote areas. The USAID will also undertake new programs in Pakistan under Global Health Security Agenda.
There was a consensus on strengthening cooperation between the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).
The US Centre for Disease Control will also help NIH strengthen the disease data center in Pakistan.
The US side also appreciated Pakistan’s campaign for polio eradication and reiterated its commitment to continue its support against the crippling disease.
In his concluding remarks, Ambassador Masood Khan thanked the US Government for its support and welcomed the positive outcome of the US-Pakistan Health Dialogue. He said that “the dialogue is part of multiple engagement processes in critical areas, i.e., Trade, Science & Technology, Agriculture and Climate Change, to strengthen Pak-US ties further.”
Highlighting the importance of a high-level US-Pakistan Health Dialogue, Ambassador Masood Khan said that “this engagement process will help Pakistan and the US to develop an arc of cooperation in the non-security areas and will further cement our robust partnership.”
The day-long session of the US-Pakistan Health Dialogue deliberated upon establishing the Pakistani Center for Disease Control (CDC), Global Health Security, childhood immunizations, COVID-19 engagement, regulatory engagements, maternal and child health, and non-communicable diseases.
The two sides reiterated their commitment to continue close collaboration in the areas mentioned earlier and to monitor progress into agreed areas of cooperation regularly.
The next session of the US-Pakistan Health Dialogue will be in Pakistan.