Federal and Provincial Health Ministers express joint commitment to improve quality of health care

Islamabad, September 15, 2018 (PPI-OT): At an inter provincial meeting of health and Population ministers chaired by Federal Health Minister Aamer Mehmood Kiani, a joint commitment was expressed by all ministers to work closely to improve quality of health care in the country. The meeting was convened to discuss key issue related to health of people of Pakistan. All provinces including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir attended the meeting.

The Federal Minister welcomed all the Provincial Ministers and Secretaries attending the first meeting of ‘Inter-Provincial Health and Population Strategic Forum’ since the formation of new government and said: “The priority of the present government is the welfare and improved health status of people of Pakistan. All of us have been mandated to serve the people and collectively we can achieve the result of ensuring good quality health services to all”. The Minister said he will take up the issue of enhancement of budgetary allocation with Prime Minster Imran Khan.

All provincial/area ministers and secretaries agreed that health will be kept above political priorities and in the general interest of people. Reviewing the latest results in health sector, the discussion focused around increasing number of measles cases in the country, challenges in the population sector, nutrition crisis in the country and need for a renewed strategic thought in the health sector, while respecting the mandate of the provincial governments as a result of devolution.

The status of preparations for the measles campaign was reviewed and all provincial ministers strived for 100 percent coverage in measles campaign. It was decided that highest political offices at the federal and provincial levels will be involved along with strong oversight and accountability mechanisms. Concerns were expressed on the high population growth rate in the country. A renewed priority especially to the lady health workers program and improved availability of services at the health facility level were mutually agreed.

Provincial ministers commented that health workforce is critical factor for provision of quality health services and that the role of lady health workers, lady health visitors and nurses is of utmost importance. Federal Minister agreed to the proposal of provincial ministers to call another meeting in future to discuss in detail the issue of lady health workers program. High level of stunting and under-nutrition in the country was an area of concern for all considering the latest data. It was agreed to form an ‘Emergency Nutrition Task Force’ with representation from provinces, to review and augment the response.

New approaches to strengthen the health system in the country were also discussed including ‘Family Practice Approach’ and to develop an ‘essential package of health services’ which should be made available to all people in Pakistan. The forum agreed to prioritize provision of essential services through family physicians, while considering the best global practices. Provincial/Area Ministers and Secretaries appreciated the role of Federal Minister in bringing all provinces/ areas together and also providing a platform for setting common strategic direction in the sector. They emphasized on regular joint reviews and consultations in future also.

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