ISLAMABAD-Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr Zafar Mirza on Wednesday said that the government was taking measures to make Pakistan a polio free country on emergency basis.

He said this while addressing at World Health Assembly in Geneva sharing vision and agenda for change to affect a turnaround the health sector in Pakistan, a statement issued here stated. The statement issued by ministry of National Health Services (NHS) quoting Dr Zafar Mirza said that the mission of the government was to promote health, keep Pakistan and the world safe and serve the vulnerable communities.

Within the framework of Universal Health Coverage, priorities of the government are making Pakistan polio free as soon as possible and effectively addressing high burden of some communicable diseases besides life course approach with intense focus on mother and child-care, nutrition and reproductive health the minister informed the world body, he said.

Dr Zafar Mirza made special mention of the government’s ‘Sehat Sahulat Programme’ and free quality health services being provided under it in 62 districts to poor families with plan to extend it to the entire country by 2020.

He added that other priorities included prevention and control of non-communicable diseases with renewed emphasis on effective tobacco control and other risk factors and enhancing capacity and preparedness to deal with all kinds of health emergencies. Dr Zafar said, “Having spent 15 years in WHO and now taking over as a Minister of Health 3 weeks ago, I have been actively reviewing health situation in my country and setting my priorities.” He said that we are in the process of developing a model healthcare system in Islamabad Capital Territory for Universal Health Coverage for which we have now signed a MoU with the WHO.

He assured that people’s rights to health would be realised by establishing public sector investment in health as a priority in macro-economic policy by fully respecting federal and provincial mandates in health by strengthening essential public health functions in the country and by active involvement of society at large.

He added that results would also be achieved by ensuring multi-sector collaboration to effectively deal with risks and determinants of health and by investing in family practice based primary health care as a foundation of Universal Health Coverage with enhanced domestic resource mobilization and with the continued cooperation of development partners.