ISLAMABAD-Development of national health agenda needs to be prioritised to improve the healthcare and to achieve sustainable development goals, speakers said on Saturday.

Researchers, academicians and healthcare experts gathered at the 2-day National Scientific Congress and discussed opportunities and challenges faced by healthcare sector in Pakistan for sustained patient empowerment and therapeutic outcomes.

The congress hosted parallel sessions on innovation revolving around the use of latest technologies like robotics, cyber knife, palliative care and digital health. At the same time, subject authorities held discussions on integration of different disciplines in order to improve healthcare and moving towards achieving sustainable development goals of quality healthcare services in Pakistan.

The NSC is a scientific forum in Pakistan. Shifa Tameer-e-Milat University held the multispecialty event, where different disciplines including medical sciences, nursing, pharmaceutical sciences, medical technology, physical rehabilitation and digital health contributed to address national needs and the need of integrating with each other to upgrade the quality of healthcare services in Pakistan. Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr Tariq Banuri inaugurated the event. On the occasion, he lauded efforts of the organisers for arranging the NSC and providing support to the HEC to enhance quality and relevant of research in country.

Dr Banuri said that currently, approximately 3 million people were enrolled in higher education disciplines in the country and the number was increasing at 10 percent every year that speaks high of the HEC commitment. He asked for support from organisers of NSC to work for a multi-partner agreement to develop National Research Health Agenda for which HEC will provide funding.

According to the Chairman HEC, priorities for National Research Health Agenda should focus on curative, preventive, local research and development of national database. Services of anti-coagulation registry and national integrated anti-coagulation service, heart failure registry and treatment optimisation service, national cardio-metabolic centre, pulmonary hypertension clinic, cardiac rehabilitation service, cardiovascular diseases in pregnancy clinic, drug testing laboratory and journal of Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University were inaugurated in the ceremony.

Prof Iqbal, Vice Chancellor STMU and Chairman of the Congress said that healthcare industry was ideally placed to embrace innovations and emerging guidelines to address key medical needs and issues at national level.

He also told media that key objectives of NSC were to review and discuss the current state of innovation, research, challenges and opportunities in health sector in Pakistan and to explore how national and international stakeholders could collaborate to use NSC as an information hub to be utilised for further research. At NSC, we are putting all possible efforts to enhance quality and efficiency of healthcare sector in Pakistan, he said. The vision of the NSC, he said, encompasses innovation in medical research and practices, integration of new ideas and disciplines, and application of research outcomes to address our national issues.

Various topics discussed at NSC covered the latest advancements in the field of medical and therapeutic sciences including robotics, cyber knife, palliative care and digital healthcare. In addition to different sessions on cardiology, oncology, surgery, pulmonology, pharmaceutical and rehabilitation sciences, experts from various fields shared the latest research in different therapeutic disciplines and innovations in medical procedures and services with a special focus of their integration in our systems and application of the same at national level.

The NSC also hosted sessions on landmark medical trials, medical registries and databases where speakers explained the rationale for their implementation needs and possible outcomes of data that would be harvested through these services. Digital health and robotics were relatively newer topics for developing countries like us and were deliberated thoroughly for their advantages, and implementation in Pakistan. Experts imparted latest knowledge and awareness on these emerging fields.