ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A delegation from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Atlanta led by Dr. Richard Franka, representative of Global Immunization Division called on Dr. Nadeem Jan, the federal Minister for NHSRC to discuss mutual areas of interest for cooperation in health sector.
The delegation also included Acting Country Director of CDC in Pakistan, Dr. Jude Tuma as well as Ms. Suzzane Powel from the US Embassy.
Minister was accompanied by Mr. Iftikhar Shalwani, federal Secretary Health and Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar, Strategic Adviser IGH-CDC. Dr. Nadeem Jan thanked US CDC for longstanding collaboration and technical assistance provided to the country for Immunization, Polio eradication, capacity building of public health workforce as well strengthening of public health labs in Pakistan.
The federal Minister made mention of the contributions of CDC trained Field Epidemiologists in disease detection and response, Polio eradication as well as the recently encountered COVID-19 pandemic.
Sharing his vision and priorities of the Government to protect the health of most vulnerable populations, the Minister updated the delegation about initiatives being undertaken to improve essential immunization coverage across Pakistan and plan to interrupt the Polio transmission the soonest possible.
‘The national leadership is committed to use all its strengths and resources to contain all vaccine preventable diseases and finally confine Polio virus to the history books. Failure in this respect is not an option and we shall ensure it through accountability across the board, the Minister remarked.
Dr. Nadeem Jan also stressed the need to adopt an integrated service delivery approach and urged the global community to extend support during the last miles toward eradication.
Richard Franka, CDC delegation lead appreciated the Government’s commitment as well as the unprecedented support being extended to valiant frontline health workers by Pakistan’s law enforcement agencies.
While appreciating the progress made, Dr. Richard emphasized the need to modify strategies based on updated risk assessment and urged ongoing impact evaluations of interventions being implemented in priority zones.
‘The CDC truly believes in Government leadership and shall remain supportive of the locally tailored strategic approaches to address challenges being faced in priority areas’, Richard stated.
Secretary Iftikhar Shalwani also apprised the delegation of country’s plan to host Global Health Security Summit during January 2024 and invited CDC leadership to the same.
Delegation welcomed the initiative and assured of appropriate level representation.
The delegation was also informed about the Government’s plan to embark on Hepatitis Elimination and addressing widely prevalent maternal & child malnutrition.
Both sides agreed to further strengthen the existing collaborations besides carrying forward the Pak-US strategic health dialogue addressing jointly identified priority areas.