Universal health coverage guarantees socio-economic well-being: Patel

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Minister for National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination, Abdul Qadir Patel on Tuesday said that the government was striving to utilize all available resources for ensuring primary health care and achieving universal health coverage (UHC) in the country.

The minister said in a statement on the occasion of a national event jointly organized by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination and Agha Khan University (AKU), which was held to share the experience of developing the national Universal Health Coverage-Benefit Package (UHC-BP) in Pakistan, its provincial localization and to review future challenges and opportunities. The minister said that Universal Health Coverage was the only way to guarantee the socio-economic well-being of our communities in the context of health. He added that maintaining progress towards UHC was challenging and was first and foremost a political choice.

He appreciated the provincial and federating area health departments and health development partners for their extensive support and contribution towards UHC.

Minister of State for Health, Dr. Mahesh Kumar Malani said that the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination was committed to help the people in maintaining and improving their health to bring the population of the country among the healthier nations in the region.

He said that the development of national and provincial and federating area Essential Packages of Health Services (EPHS) was an important milestone in the healthcare reforms journey for Pakistan as it was a stepping stone to building a resilient and responsive healthcare system that would inevitably contribute to improving the health of the people.

On the occasion, WHO Representative, Dr. Awad Mataria congratulated the Government of Pakistan for its consistent effort towards the development of a national package of essential health services and its localization at the provincial and federating area level.

He stressed that as the EPHS had been developed, its implementation was more important and for which multi-sectoral collaboration is crucial. He added that the health security agenda should be enhanced along with the programmatic monitoring.

Dr Ala Alwan from Disease Control Priorities (DCP3) Secretariat appreciated the Government of Pakistan for their hard and dedicated work.

He stressed the role of the Ministry of Planning and Finance towards the implementation of EPHS as their engagement was required for sustainable financing of EPHS. He added that the private sector should be involved in the implementation phase as the primary health care services were majorly delivered by the private sector in Pakistan.

He mentioned that retaining the capacity in the Ministry of National Health Services and partner institutes was necessary for the sustainability of the UHC-BP.

Special Secretary of Health, Mirza Nasir ud din Mashood said that the Ministry of National Health Services was committed to working closely with the provincial and federating areas and other stakeholders, not only for effective coordination but also to ensuring the provision of required technical support in health.

“Our common objective is to achieve universal health coverage through efficient, equitable, accessible, and affordable essential health services and fulfill international obligations and commitments.” He requested all partners to work together and to ensure the implementation of different UHC reforms in the country. He said that the international community could help Pakistan in accelerating progress toward UHC in rebuilding the health architecture and more effective response to health.

The event was attended by representatives from federal and provincial health departments, AKU, DCP3 Secretariat, UN agencies, health development Partners, and other stakeholders.(APP)