ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that Pakistan wanted to upgrade its health facilities and in that connection wanted to work closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in fighting disease and disability.

He was talking to Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general, WHO who called on him along with delegates here on Tuesday.

The prime minister extended felicitations to Dr Ghebreyesus on assuming the office of director general of the WHO. Abbasi stated that Pakistan looked forward to working closely with the WHO in fighting disease and disability and ensuring equity in provision of health services.

“Our National Health Vision is fully aligned to achieving goals under health-related Sustainable Development Goals,” added the prime minister.

 Abbasi apprised that the Government of Pakistan had undertaken major reforms in the health sector over the last four years and the launch of Prime Minister’s National Health Programme, which provided free of cost quality healthcare to the poorest of the poor was a historic achievement.

The prime minister informed the WHO official about Pakistan’s improved drugs regulatory regime, barcoding of drugs, drug testing and surveillance at par with international standards and marked improvement in immunisation coverage of children.

He emphasised that Pakistan remained strongly committed to the goal of polio eradication and had made significant achievements acknowledged by the highest international technical forums.

The WHO director general thanked the prime minister and the government for hosting the 64th WHO Regional Committee meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean Region being held in Islamabad from 9th to 12th October.

The director general stated that the WHO wished to enhance coordination in helping Pakistan achieve its targets in the health sector reforms.

Saira Afzal Tarar, minister for National Health Services and other senior officials as well as a team of delegates from the WHO was also present during the meeting.