ISLAMABAD-Government on Friday launched Yaran-e-Watan initiative to collaborate with overseas Pakistani national health professionals to take their input on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

A statement released by the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) referring to the Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza said that a critical shortage of different cadres in the health workforce remains a barrier for Pakistan in attaining its health system goals.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the entire world into a struggle. Pakistani government is working hard in providing adequate national emergency response.

SAPM said that to augment this response, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (MNHSRC) and Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (MOPHRD), in partnership with Pakistani and International diaspora organisations launched Yaran-e-Watan, Pakistan Diaspora Health Initiative.

This initiative is aligned with the national vision to realize and mobilize the full potential of the Pakistani diaspora community, for the health sector development in Pakistan.

Yaran-e-Watan will enable the exchange of knowledge and expertise by curating an integrated platform, developed by the National Information Board of Technology. It will offer two-way engagement by connecting the diaspora or overseas Pakistani health professionals with volunteer healthcare opportunities at Pakistani institutions and healthcare providers.

As part of its first commitment, Yaran-e-Watan will launch COVID-19 emergency response to complement the national response during the COVID-19 outbreak. These digital collaborations will facilitate diaspora healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedical and allied health staff) in providing their services remotely through telemedicine/telehealth companies and health Institutes and facilities in Pakistan.

Internationally, many Pakistani health professionals are serving in the frontline fight against COVID-19. Despite their commitments to their residing countries, they are willing to offer assistance to Pakistan.

The impetus for its development and the enthusiasm of the overseas Pakistani community to give back to the country instils the conviction that Yaran-e-Watan will become a new chapter in resurgence of Pakistan’s health sector, especially during these challenging times