Islamabad - Federal Minister for National Health Services Regulation & Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar said on Monday that the national health vision of Pakistan is aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that it has taken major steps in realm of universal health coverage.

The minister said this while hosting the Regional Committee Meeting of Eastern Mediterranean Region of World Health Organization on October 9, 2017.

Minister said that Eastern Mediterranean region has a population of nearly 583 million people and the nations in this region must reduce the disparity in health spending vis-à-vis global health spending.

“We must invest in human capital and prioritize health when allocating resources,” she said.     Despite a wealth of knowledge in the region, there exist many obstacles and challenges in access to public to health services.

Minister praised the collective deliberation by the experts of the region on this important subject and other related issues.

She stressed that the National Health Vision is fully aligned to health related SDGS and lauded the major steps Pakistan has taken in the realm of universal health coverage and social protection. The launch of landmark National Health Insurance initiative- The Prime Minister’s National Health Program, is a milestone in this direction.

The Program caters to the health needs of those living below the poverty line through provision of free of cost quality health services made available in both public and private sector.

Families all over the country are being issued health cards through a highly transparent system. Saira expressed confidence in the initiative saying that model and scale of the project serves as an example for other countries of the region. 

She said that Pakistan is fully cognizant of the global health implications of Anti-Microbial Resistance. Under a comprehensive National AMR Containment policy emphasis has been laid on the five strategic objectives of the WHO Global Action Plan for AMR. She added that they are working to optimize the use of antimicrobial medicines in human health sector, agriculture and animal health sector though implementation of a multi-pronged strategy in line with the national AMR policy.

She said that Pakistan is fighting the final battle against Polio. There has been an increase of 15 to 20 percent, in the coverage of children vaccinated under Expanded Program on Immunization. Vaccine Logistics Management Information System VLMIS has also been introduced. The supply and storage system has been certified by ISO in accordance with international practices.

Pakistan has introduced ROTA virus vaccine with the support of GAVI in a phased manner. To ensure equitable access to immunization, special emphasis will be given to reaching the underserved population through robust micro-planning and tailor made strategies such as engagement of Civil Society Organisations  and community workers to demand creation in low Immunization coverage and hard to reach areas.