NDMA, UN, donors to help Balochistan fight Covid-19

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Steps to be taken to boost relation and cooperation between UN agencies and provincial government departments.  — AFP/File
Steps to be taken to boost relation and cooperation between UN agencies and provincial government departments. — AFP/File

QUETTA: The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), UN agencies, donor organisations and the Balochistan government have agreed to work jointly to minimise the impact of Covid-19 in the province.

The decision was taken in a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani on Thursday. The meeting was attended by NDMA chairman Lt General Muhammad Afzal along with representatives of the United Nation agencies and donor organisations.

Federal Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal, Balochistan Assembly Deputy Speaker Sardar Babar Musakhel, Chief Secretary retired captain Fazeel Asghar and other concerned were present in the meeting.

Official sources said that matters pertaining to Covid-19 in Balochistan, economic challenges, and assistance from donor agencies were discussed in the meeting.

Gen Afzal informed the meeting that the NDMA would provide maximum possible assistance to increase the capacity of conducting corona tests, including establishment of two more laboratories at divisional level. With the institutionalisation of these two laboratories, the capacity of testing would increase, he said.

Country heads and representatives of World Health Organisation, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, United Nations Population Fund, and the World Food Programme assured the chief minister to provide maximum possible assistance to combat the pandemic.

Official sources said that the meeting decided that steps would be taken to boost relation and cooperation between United Nations agencies and provincial government departments. The World Health Organisation would provide assistance in different programmes of paramedic trainings, conducting surveys and awareness among the people.

The WHO also appreciated and expressed complete satisfaction on the efforts taken by provincial government of Balochistan to contain the spread of the virus.

Balochistan chief minister Alyani, while speaking at the meeting, said that the Covid-19 situation in Pakistan was better than western countries where millions of people were infected and a large numbers of patients had lost their lives.

“Every day new theories, philosophies, hypothesis were emerging about coronavirus but the entire world is agreed on one point that the pandemic has been posing a great threat to the economic, financial and health prospects,” he said.

He said that the coalition government of Balochistan had been focusing on improving the economic and trade-related activities in the province, and to utilise the resources to meet the financial constraints and challenges successfully.

He said that the Balochistan government would surely welcome the assistance from the international donors for the nutrition sector. He also shared details of Covid-19 measures taken by the provincial government.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2020