Islamabad, the 20th December, 2016 In a high level inter-ministerial meeting of health ministers held here today under the chair of Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar the federation and provinces agreed to accelerate crackdown against spurious drugs resolving that it was a menace and enhanced efforts were needed to dealt with elements involved in the crime that threatens the lives of the populace. It was resolved to launch a nation-wide crackdown against spurious drugs stating that elements out to damage health of the masses will not be spared.
The forum also deliberated at length strengthening of inter-provincial coordination mechanisms towards achieving goals in health and population planning with specific focus on targets under Sustainable Development Goals.
Addressing the inter-ministerial meeting Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said provision of quality, affordable and accessible health services t the masses was top most priority of the government in the health sector.
It was critical that the federation and provinces work hand to hand as one team to realize the vision of making healthcare facilities available and accessible to the masses.
She said it was a matter of great satisfaction that there was cohesion and harmony in realizing national objectives and meeting international commitments in health. The Minister made special mention of the Plan of Action for Mother and Child Health which was agreed among federal, provincial government and all stakeholders last year and developing consensus on the National Health Vision for the country.
The Minister apprised the forum of the progress made during the last three years since the establishment of her Ministry. She said consistent with the role of Ministry of National Health Services, major initiatives have been taken in the realm of regulation, coordination amongst provinces and stakeholders alongside mobilizing resources for major health programs being implemented by the Provinces.
The Minister made specific mention of Pakistan’s commitments with regard to international health regulations and the need to remain vigilant to stop the spread of diseases across borders. In this regard she shared the achievements in terms of dealing with the Ebola outbreak and reiterated that joint effort was required to meet any future challenge.
To accelerate implementation of SDGs, all Provinces, GB and AJK agreed to nominate focal persons.
The meeting resolved to establish an SDGs monitoring and implementation unit in all provinces similar to the one established at the federal level to accelerate efforts towards achieving health-related SDG.
It was agreed that Health Ministers of all Provinces and Minister for National Health Services will meet every three months to ensure effective national coordination in health and population.
The meeting was also attended by Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman who also holds the portfolio of Health Minister Gilgit Baltistan besides Health Minister Punjab Khawaja Imran Nazir, Shehram Tarakai Health Minister Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Health Minister AJK.
Secretary National Health Services Muhammad Ayub Shaikh shared with the forum the progress made in providing free treatment facilities to those below the poverty line in the Provinces under the Prime Minister’s National Health Program. He informed that ECNEC in its meeting held today approved 11 districts in addition to the present 23 districts for implementation of Prime Minister’s National Health Program.
He shared that the federal government was providing resources for immunization program for mothers and children whereas provinces were responsible for implementing it, making specific mention of the high score achieved in immunization under the PILDAT Survey for which efforts of the federal Ministry and Provinces were commendable.
Director General Health Dr. Assad Hafeez briefed the meeting on joint initiatives of the Federal Ministry and Provincial health departments to develop policy and strategic roadmap in line with vision 2025. He shared that the National Information Dashboard was a critical intervention which is linked in real-time to provincial data. The initiative helps in developing strategic guidelines, seeking partner support and reporting on Pakistan’s international commitments.