ISLAMABAD: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has given assurance that it will take all possible steps to strengthen healthcare services in the federal capital.
The assurance came at a meeting attended by WHO Country Director Dr Palitha Mahipala and Director General Health Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) Dr Hasan Orooj at the WHO headquarters on Tuesday.
It was decided that Dr Mahipala along with a team from the MCI will visit all areas in the federal capital, including slums, to strengthen the healthcare system.
Dr Orooj told Dawn that after the visits it would be decided which areas needed enhancement of the services.
“We are thankful to Dr Mahipala that he has decided to visit the slums of the city and play his role to address the issue. Currently, we have 11 healthcare and two other centres where outpatient departments are working in the evening. However, due to Covid-19, the focus of the centres has been on the pandemic alone,” he said.
Country director to visit slums, other areas with MCI team to assess their needs, says official
He said for years these centres have played a very important role in meeting the targets of vaccination under the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI).
“Recently, we conducted a very impressive typhoid vaccination campaign and now with the support of WHO we can do much more. Currently, we are facing problems or gaps in human resources and logistics and I hope that all such issues would be addressed,” Dr Orooj said.
Archbishop Dr Joseph Arshad in a statement appealed to the Christian community to strictly adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of Covid-19.
“We need to make sure that the virus is curtailed rather than becoming part in its spread,” he said.
Investment in family planning
Investment in family planning programmes is integral to achieve sustainable population growth in Pakistan This was stated by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan.
“Cohesive actions are required at the federal and provincial level to improve family planning programmes,” he said at an online consultative meeting.
Dr Sultan also said the Council of Common Interest (CCI)’s recommendations provided a comprehensive framework for the federal and provincial governments to stabilise population growth.
The meeting was organised by the Population Centre Pakistan in collaboration with the Population Council and with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Members of parliament, international partners, the World Bank and United Nations Population Fund representatives attended the meeting.
Country Director Population Council Dr Zeba Sathar stressed the need for greater investment in family planning programmes. She highlighted the government’s commitment to achieve sustainable population growth. She said the CCI recommendations provided an excellent road map for achieving sustainable population.
UNFPA representative Dr Yilma Alazar reaffirmed UNFPA’s support to the government in implementation of the CCI decisions. He reiterated UNFPA’s support to federal and provincial task forces on policy and programmatic interventions, strong monitoring mechanisms and advocacy efforts to ensure universal access to family planning.
The CCI in November 2018 decided that the national and provincial task forces should be established. It also suggested establishing a fund of Rs10 billion but sufficient funds could not be allocated.
Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2021