ISLAMABAD - The Planning Commission Monday approved the concept paper for Pakistan National Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19 and it has been proposed that, besides loan financing by World Bank and ADB for COVID-19, grant financing should be explored from other multilateral organisations for the purpose. 

A special meeting of Concept Clearance Committee/ CDWP was convened to initiate precautionary measures and approve the concept paper of “Pakistan National Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19” here Monday. The meeting was chaired by Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr. Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan. Secretary Planning Mr. Zafar Hasan and senior officials from EAD ministries also attended the meeting. 

The meeting was informed by Secretary Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Dr. Syed Pervaiz Abbas that loan financing is made available by World Bank and ADB however, grant financing should be explored from other multilateral organizations. It was proposed that private laboratories must be subsidised by the government to ensure that the tests are available to all. Currently, the cost of Corona test is Rs 8,000 per test, official source told The Nation. Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination have come up with a proposal to enhance country’s capacity for preparedness and response to COVID-19 pandemic. The project aims to establish functional coordination mechanism at the national and provincial levels for preparedness and response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The concept clearance proposal envisages enhancing capacity for preparedness and mounting response to prevalent Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The proposed interventions include strengthen preparedness to identify/diagnose primary cases and following up contacts; effectively respond to minimize impact of Covid-19 through surveillance strengthening, case management, infection prevention and control, risk communication and coordination.

The scope of the proposal include procurement of equipment and consumables for 200 hospitals (156 district level hospitals and 44 tertiary level hospitals) for effective clinical management of confirmed cases. Procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) for 200 hospitals, 19 point of entries, 10 quarantine sites and 42 labs. procurement of diagnostic equipment for 42 labs, EOC surveillance support and operational cost.

The Recommendation of the Concept Paper includes Current pandemic is as a result of a new strain of virus (novel Corona Virus) which has the potential of high infectivity and enhanced Mobility and mortality due to absence of hard immunity. The proposed interventions shall enhance capacity of the health system to respond to the challenges of spread of infection among the population, quarantine, early diagnosis, and effective clinical management therefore, supported.

The overall recommendation are listed below: PC1 should elaborate on not just establishing the rooms but also on the accompanying process of how patients will be transported from their homes (ambulance, own car etc. to a triaging and assessment area and then to the Isolation room) including the whole health economy’s staff protocols tor this. Young, fit and healthy can be isolated and managed at home if there is good public and patient awareness.

 

 

The overall focus is recommended to include strengthening the current systems in a sustainable way, acknowledging some existing gaps and try to address these.

Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr. Jehanzeb Khan stated that strong surveillance would help prevent outbreak of Corona. He also noted that Pakistan already has a law named “Emergency Diseases Control Act” that supports immediate measures against outbreak of any diseases. He further noted that such situations are dealt at national level and federal government will fully support the provincial governments to control the pandemic. Secretary Planning Mr. Zafar Hasan stated that the general public needs to be informed about the safety measures to effectually control Corona virus.