Pak-US collaboration critical in fighting pandemics, health security challenges: Qadir

Islamabad-Pakistan and United States will advance and deepen their health cooperation in areas of immunization, nutrition, mother’s health, child survival and health security across borders.
The two countries have also started a collaborative effort to develop the Centre for Disease Control in Pakistan, said a message received here on Tuesday.
These remarks were made by Pakistan’s Federal Health Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Abdul Qadir Patel while addressing the US-Pakistan Health Dialogue hosted by the US State Department, United States Agency for International Development and Department of Health and Human Services. The minister thanked the US administration for the provision of 61.5 million COVID vaccines, 16 million paediatric vaccines and other equipment including protective kits and ventilators in the country’s fight against the pandemic. He said, “Pak-US cooperation during COVID pandemic clearly demonstrated that a robust Pak-US partnership in the health sector could prove a bulwark against pandemic and diseases thus saving millions of precious human lives.”
“Disease knows no boundaries. A pandemic will not only be a challenge for a particular country but the region and beyond,” said the minister. Highlighting Pakistan’s efforts towards polio eradication, the minister emphasized that a holistic approach comprising immunization, mother and child nutrition was critical to the success of polio eradication efforts.
He said that Pakistan was strengthening its Border Health Agency, as part of its pursuits of the Global Health Security Agenda, to effectively monitor and counter cross-border movement of disease. The two sides pledged a greater exchange of information, expertise and best practices in fighting diseases. The US side appreciated Pakistan’s successful handling of the COVID pandemic with a commitment to continue its close collaboration with the country. In this regard, the United States which has already provided 61.5 million COVID vaccines will further donate 16 million doses of paediatric Pfizer vaccines to Pakistan. An additional $20 million was also pledged by USAID to support Pakistan’s vaccination efforts.
The Dialogue also highlighted the donation of four mobile testing labs by the United States that would augment Pakistan’s capacity in diagnosing COVID-19 and other communicable diseases, especially in remote areas. The USAID will also undertake new programs in Pakistan under Global Health Security Agenda.
It was also decided to strengthen cooperation between US’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP). The US Centre for Disease Control will also help NIH in strengthening the disease data centre in Pakistan.
The US side also appreciated Pakistan’s campaign for polio eradication and reiterated its commitment to continue its support against the crippling disease.
Ambassador Masood Khan in his concluding remarks thanked the US Government for its support and welcomed the positive outcome of the US-Pakistan Health Dialogue.
He said, “the dialogue is part of multiple engagement processes in critical areas like trade, science and technology, agriculture and climate change, to further strengthen Pak-US ties.”

Highlighting the importance of a high-level US-Pakistan Health Dialogue, Ambassador Masood Khan said that “this engagement process will help Pakistan and the US to develop an arc of cooperation in the non-security areas and will further cement our robust partnership.”
The day-long session of the US-Pakistan Health Dialogue deliberated upon establishing the Pakistani Center for Disease Control (CDC), Global Health Security, childhood immunizations, COVID-19 engagement, regulatory engagements, maternal and child health and non-communicable diseases.
The two sides reiterated their commitment to continue close collaboration in the aforementioned areas and to regularly monitor progress into agreed areas of cooperation.
The next session of the US-Pakistan Health Dialogue is planned to be held in Pakistan.

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