PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra has appreciated the role of the Khyber Medical University’s Public Health Reference Laboratory (KMU-PHRL) during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as ‘unforgettable’.

“With the provision of genome sequencing facility, the KMU-PHRL has achieved another milestone, which will help not only in the timely diagnosis of various diseases but also in the prevention of any disease from becoming an epidemic,” the minister told a ceremony held here on Friday for the inauguration of the Genome Sequencing Lab and Day Care & Breastfeeding Centre at the KMU.

He also distributed scholarship cheques to the students under Ehsaas Programme, according to a news release issued here.

The minister said that the inauguration of the Day Care and Breastfeeding Centre at the KMU was a model for the health department as well as other institutions in the province, where women worked.

Minister says facility to help prevent epidemics

He said that the government was providing various scholarships to the talented and needy students in terms of education and hostel expenses through other schemes, including Ehsaas Programme, and it would be further expanded in the coming days.

Mr Jhagra said that the KMU-PHRL began the anti-coronavirus journey from 20 tests daily and that 4,000 tests were conducted every day.

He said during the last one and a half years, more than 0.8 million tests were conducted by the lab.

“This is a clear evidence of the excellent performance of this lab for which the vice- chancellor, its director and support staff deserve congratulations,” he said.

The minister said that it was commendable that the KMU-PHRL had become the second largest public sector lab in the country after the National Institute of Health Islamabad to carry out genome sequencing.

“The availability of these facilities will not only help in the prompt diagnosis of infectious diseases but also pave the way for the prevention and treatment of diseases,” he said.

Mr Jhagra said that the annual health budget had been increased from Rs86 billion to Rs146 billion during the last three years as a result of which the people of the province were getting the best possible health services on their doorstep.

KMU Vice-Chancellor Prof Ziaul Haq, special secretary (health) Dr Syed Farooq Jamil, registrar Prof Mohammad Saleem Gandapur, PHRL director Dr Yasir Yousafzai and other relevant officials were also present on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2021

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