ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday called for coordinated and cooperative efforts at global level to overcome the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic.

While addressing the COVID19 Action Platform of World Economic Forum through video link late Wednesday, he said experience of developed world is completely different what we are facing in the developing world.

He said the speed at which the COVID-19 spread in Europe and the United States was not anticipated by rest of the world. He said we have seen rising cases in Pakistan but we have not reached the peak so far.

The Prime Minister said, “We are facing twin challenges of stemming the growth of virus by lockdown and how to mitigate its effects on our population due to rising poverty.” He said in Pakistan we have 25 million workers who are either daily wagers or self-employed. “When we lockdown our economy, all these people become unemployed. In addition, they have families to support and the total number of people facing economic hardship reaches 150 million.”

Imran Khan said in order to reduce their sufferings, we started cash transfer programme and reached out 15 million families. He said despite of the rising cases in the country, we decided to relax the lockdown and open some industries in order to help people earn their living.

 

The Prime Minister said we also organised a volunteer force that will assist the government by sensitizing people and helping them in social distancing and other measures, and also help in distribution of relief goods. Imran Khan said we were facing a tough economic situation and worked hard to reduce our current account deficit by taking a number of measures.

 

The Prime Minister said we are seeing a decline in foreign remittances and slow growth. He said the pandemic has reduced the fiscal space of all countries and put additional strain on existing health facilities.

Imran Khan said Pakistan needs help in the field of health to tackle the issue.

 

He said during his talks with heads of various developing countries including Egypt, Nigeria and Ethiopia, he found all were facing the similar issues. He said G20 countries have announced relief in debt to developing countries which is a good gesture. Earlier, the forum was informed that 17 out of 20 countries with cases of COVID-19 are emerging economies. It was informed that global economy is anticipated to contract 5 percent.

 

 

TeleHealth portal launched for

patient-doctor

 

 

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday launched the TeleHealth portal aimed at providing a free medical consultation platform for patients to access doctors on mobile phones.

The facility will ensure a direct contact between doctors and patients in a safe environment in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. The prime minister, in his remarks at the launch of the portal, said interaction through the WhatsApp mobile numbers would help the patients get medical advice without leaving their homes. He said the coronavirus had impacted a large number of people worldwide and precaution was the only option to avoid its infection till the availability of vaccine.  He urged the nation to fight the disease with steadfastness and resilience.

 

He mentioned that the health system of several developed countries had collapsed due to over-burdening by the coronavirus patients. He expressed gratitude to Allah Almighty as Pakistan did not face as much COVID-19 cases as compared to the other countries.

 

He regretted that the country’s health sector was neglected in the past and needed immense improvement.

Imran Khan urged upon the doctors, particularly lady doctors, to volunteer themselves by getting registered with the TeleHealth portal and provide remote assistance to the patients.

 

He said in the United Kingdom, only 0.2 million people had volunteered on call of the government during the coronavirus situation, whereas their number in Pakistan had touched one million. He said even after the pandemic was over, the portal would continue to benefit the public. 

 

The prime minister lauded Tania Aidrus of Digital Pakistan for chalking out the portal aimed at facilitating the general public in health sector.

 

PM’s Special Assistant on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said the coronavirus pandemic had given an opportunity to the country to adapt new trends and technology in the health sector, which would be retained as a permanent feature in future.

He said 70 percent of the medical students in the country comprised women and regretted that most of them did not join the field.

He mentioned that 17,000 volunteers belonging to the health sector had joined the Tiger Force, while 500 medical practitioners had already been registered with the TeleHealth Portal.

Digital Pakistan’s head Tania Aidrus said the doctors in Pakistan could sign up for a free consultation with the patients and the citizens could call up a corona screening questionnaire on WhatsApp +92 300 1111166 and opt to speak to a doctor.

She appealed to the doctors to volunteer themselves to the portal and contribute in serving the nation in difficult times.  She mentioned that Pakistan was the first country to launch such a facility for all its citizens across the country.