ISLAMABAD                 -               The World Health Organization (WHO) will be supporting Pakistan government’s efforts to contain the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country with £2.67 million in aid, to scale-up the current response.

A statement released by WHO said that it will support Pakistan’s COVID-19 response with £2.67 million in funding from the UK. Representative of WHO in Pakistan Dr Palitha Mahipala said that WHO has been working closely with the Government of Pakistan to prepare and respond to the growing threat of COVID-19. “We would like to thank DFID for this generous support since it will go a long way to strengthen the current response and save lives.”

It said that the funding package will be used in 27 districts across all five provinces of Pakistan. It will assist WHO in providing technical, operational and logistical support to the Government of Pakistan via existing response coordination mechanisms at federal and provincial levels.

The statement said that the funds will also help strengthen the country’s capacity to; identify and diagnose cases of COVID-19; manage cases of COVID-19 within health care settings through effective infection, prevention and control measures, increase community participation in stopping the spread of COVID-19, and enhance citizen’s access to reliable information so that they can learn how to protect themselves and others. Gaps in healthcare facilities and provisions of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for healthcare workers will also be covered through this funding.

The British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Dr Christian Turner CMG said; “These are extraordinary times. Across the world millions of people are being affected by COVID-19; I am confident in Pakistan’s resilience and capability to defeat this pandemic. I am announcing UK health support of £2.67m to help the Government of Pakistan detect COVID-19, protect communities and assist those most affected. We are also looking to repurpose other UK aid work in Pakistan of up to £100 million to help protect the most vulnerable people of Pakistan with economic relief and social security packages. We count on our friends at difficult times; although we are socially distancing, we are coming together. UK and Pakistan enjoy the very best of international friendship; we will beat this together.”

To date, the WHO has been supporting Pakistan by strengthening COVID-19 response initiatives in collaboration with healthcare providers across the country. This includes trainings of health care providers on contact tracing and case definitions for suspected and confirmed cases, case management and infection, prevention and control measures.

WHO has also assisted in the distribution of personal protective equipment to health facilities and assisted in the distribution of Information, Education and Communications (IEC) materials to raise public awareness on COVID-19 and counter any rumours and misinformation.