ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Health Services (NHS) Dr. Faisal Sultan on Thursday said COVID-19 had been contained to a significant extent, however the threat of another wave was still there with no time for complacency.

He expressed these views while addressing the World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region meeting. 

Four-day meeting of WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region started on Monday in Cairo, Egypt. The meeting is being attended via video link by country delegations led by ministers of health from the Eastern Mediterranean region of World Health Organization stretching from Pakistan in South Asia to Mauritania in North Africa.

Speaking on the occasion, SAPM on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan said the year 2020 had turned out to be significantly challenging. The global COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented forest fires devastating hectares of living and breathing forests, to the highest rainfall recorded in the last one hundred years in the largest city of Pakistan, Karachi had all laid bare the inadequacy of the governmental response to these momentous events, changing our daily lives at homes, place of study and work. 

He said that COVID19 has been contained to a significant extent and that economic and social activities had been mostly revived. However, the threat of another wave was still there with no time for complacency. 

Therefore, this is the moment for more vigorous actions at regional and national levels to prepare for a timely response.

Despite the financial constraints during these challenging times, new initiatives had been taken by the government, which included development of UHC Benefit Package of Pakistan based on disease control priorities, integrated services package for polio in core reservoir districts, strengthening IHR core capacities, expansion of ‘Sehat Sahulat’ or Health Insurance Programme and special initiatives on nutrition, population, nursing and control of Hepatitis C.