ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Friday said the government was committed to providing universal health coverage to people and would allocate necessary resources for ongoing healthcare programmes for elimination of polio, tuberculosis and for addressing issue of malnutrition and stunting.

Addressing a conference in connection with the World Health Day organised by the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization (WHO), he said efforts of the government were aimed at ensuring quality and affordable healthcare.

He said: “I want to assure people of Pakistan and development partners that we are committed to the goal of health for all.” Education, healthcare and social development were the top priorities of the government despite limited available resources, he added.

Shahid Khaqan said the government will continue to take steps to improve coordination and cohesion between the federal and provincial governments for better implementation of healthcare programmes. In its tenure, he said the federal government had given a vision, direction and improved capacity of departments, working under the health ministry.

The government's efforts considerably reduced the cases of polio and it was in its last stages of eradication while immunisation coverage for diseases was also expanded, he added.

He said the Prime Minister’s Health Insurance Programme was successfully undertaken, giving health facilities to the poorest of the poor. “The performance of this programme is fairly satisfactory on the ground,” he added.

The PM lauded the work done by the federal ministry for regulation of the health sector despite resistance from the vested interests and for looking after the needs of the public especially poor. “We took on the vested interests and made available quality human resources in the health departments,” he added.

He mentioned the reforms carried out in Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) and Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and establishing of a dashboard for reliable data.

Referring to the contribution of international donors, he said Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was the leading supporter of Pakistan’s immunization programme.

He said more emphasis should be put on preventive healthcare to take away burden from hospitals.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the issue of malnutrition and stunting in children had reached alarming level. “We can reduce the intensity of the problem of malnutrition and stunting by making more financial allocations,” he added.

He expressed his government’s resolve to take necessary steps to tackle malnutrition and create awareness on matters relating to family planning. “We need to create greater visibility and make people more aware about ways to deal with diseases. We need to raise the quality of our medical education with effective regulation and standards,” he added.

PM TO OPEN IMPORTANT

MOTORWAY SECTION TODAY

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will inaugurate Jalalpur Pirwala-Uch Sharif Section of Motorway today (Saturday) in a ceremony at Jalalpur Pirwala.

This 45km long Road is part of the Multan-Shujaabad- Jalalpur-Pirwala-Uch Sharif-Tranda Muhammad road. The up-gradation and rehabilitation of this road situated in Southern Punjab will be helpful in minimising the traffic load on National Highway N-5. Completion of the project will facilitate the fast flow of traffic, enhancing economic activities in the region, according to the NHA officials. This will also benefit the travellers in terms of reducing their travelling expenses through less time and fuel consumption. Apart from this, the project will generate employment opportunities thus reducing poverty. Easy access of local agricultural products to the market will be an added advantage.

According to a press release issued by the NHA on Friday, this area of Southern Punjab is the heart of the country that connects western, northern and southern regions of the country. Apart from its unique location this region is famous for producing cotton. Keeping in view the overall development of the region, NHA initiated a 142km Multan-Tranda Muhammad Panah road project, of which Jalalpur Pirwala-Uchsharif section will be inaugurated on April 14. The road can be used by the traffic of Karachi to Lahore heading towards Peshawar, whereas the commercial traffic of Baluchistan heading towards Multan via Dera Ghazi Khan – Multan will also get benefit.

Moreover, the development work of Karachi – Peshawar Motorway is also underway, due to which the motorway projects in southern Punjab region are also being completed. The Motorway from Lahore to Abdul Hakeem is also completing at a fast pace. The Development of Multan – Sukkur Motorway is in progress. Similarly, Faisalabad – Multan motorway is also under construction. Later, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will visit under construction Hakla-DI Khan Motorway.