Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar calls on Nations of the World to unite for Universal Access to Health Services

Islamabad, May 19, 2015 (PPI-OT): Minister for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar delivering her country address at the World Health Assembly called upon nations of the world to unite for fighting disease and ensuring access to health services to the impoverished and the disadvantaged.

“In the global interconnected world of today disease burden in any part of the world ultimately all of us” remarked the minister making a case for united efforts in strengthening health systems that can provide basic health services to the people at any time. Global response should not be confined to rapid response when viruses emerge.

She said adding that the poorest of the poor are often left out from reaping the benefit of health facilities. The minister informed that Pakistan has launched National Health Insurance Program which will cover ten million poor in the first phase. Under the program the entire cost of hospitalisation will be borne by government funded insurance system.

The minister said ‘we believe this is an important step towards universal health coverage. Pakistan is alive to control of non communicable diseases and a major step recently has been the enhancement of pictorial health warning on cigarette packs to 85 percent alongwith increase in taxes.

Assuring the global health forum of Pakistan’s sincere and concerted efforts to wipe out polio the minister said it is an issue of paramount importance for Pakistan. The case load has dropped significantly, environmental samples are increasingly negative, the security situation has been improved and access issues have been addressed through top level government stewardship.

Resilient health systems are important for developing countries like Pakistan where limited resources and capacity make them more vulnerable to risks said the minister. Pakistan has strived to continuous improve its response as witnessed during the Ebola outbreak where all suspected cases were picked up by the system and managed.

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