ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza while urging the World Health Assembly (WHA) for co­ordinated actions amongst countries to suppress the COVID-19, has said that Pa­kistan reported significantly low num­ber of cases than the initial projections.

He said this while addressing the 73rd Session of World Health Assembly held in Geneva-Switzerland via video confer­ence here yesterday.

The SAPM called for coordinated, col­lective and sustained actions among countries and institutions to suppress and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Health Assembly is the su­preme decision-making forum where 194 nations of the world converge to deliberate and devise strategies for promoting health and reducing disease burden. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Zafar Mirza said that Pakistan has re­ported significantly lower numbers than the initial international projec­tions, especially considering that Pa­kistan is the 5th most populous devel­oping country in the world. “Despite these numbers, we are not complacent and are taking every possible step to combat this pandemic,” he said.

He said it is clear that no country alone can protect itself from this contagion. Solidarity and unity is, therefore, vital to tackle morbidity and mortality to ease burden on the health systems, and sup­port national and global economies.

He said as the premier global health parliament, it must lend its full sup­port to the on-going preparedness and response plans and strategies. The As­sembly must support growing calls for development and production of COV­ID-related diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines that are affordable, equita­ble and accessible to all.

Dr. Mirza informed that they are im­plementing a National Action Plan for COVID-19 with a whole of nation ap­proach including at the highest level, multi-sectoral coordination at federal, provincial and local levels. Through this plan the overarching strategy of Trace, Test and Quarantine is being pursued and operationalized.

“We are training the frontline health­care workers through our “We Care” campaign, sustaining the momentum of public awareness messages, mak­ing available critical medical supplies to healthcare professionals and work­ers,” he said. In line with the iterations of General Committee, year after year , Pakistan’s position is that there is only One-China and Taiwan being its integral part has no right whatsoever to claim the membership of WHO”.

The SAPM said some of the lessons learned from the outbreak of this pan­demic include the need for enhanced in­vestments in national and global pan­demic preparedness, detection and response mechanisms; strengthening of core capacities under IHR and improved pandemic response financing mecha­nisms. WHO and Member States must take this opportunity to start imagining the future of healthcare. Current politi­cal global attention must translate into strengthened essential public health functions. More than ever before world needs PHC based UHC.

The world is bearing the fallout of this pandemic in so many different ways in­cluding the spread of other diseases as those have remained relatively unat­tended, he said.

He also emphasized the need for col­lective action for voiceless poor suffer­ing through these tough times.