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Govt to upgrade primary health care system: Dr Zafar

Govt to upgrade primary health care system: Dr Zafar

Islamabad:pecial Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination, Dr Zafar Mirza Monday said, the government had planned to upgrade primary health care system to ensure provision of best medical services to everyone.

Talking to media, Dr Zafar Mirza said that 16 rural health centers (RHCs) of the federal capital were being upgraded while the government was also focusing on making improvement in basic health units (BHUs).

He said that there was plan to increase services at major hospitals of the federal capital. He added the main focus of the government was to improve healthcare delivery system. He said Pakistan was the first country in the world to use localized evidence on Disease Control Priorities 3 and Burden of Disease to develop an essential package of health services/ UHC benefit package of Pakistan.

He said achievement of this milestone and implementation of the package in future would help to improve health outcomes and making speedy progress towards UHC. He said that the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination in partnership with the provincial and area departments of health, the Disease Control Priorities 3 Secretariat at London School of Hygiene Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partners is finalising an evidence based Universal Health Coverage (UHC) benefit package for Pakistan.

Later, addressing the inaugural session of the five-day discourse, he said national discourse for the development and implementation of UHC benefit package will review localized scientific evidence on cost effectiveness and burden of diseases in Pakistan and using the information to prioritize health interventions for essential health services.

In partnership with WHO, the DCP3 secretariat funded by the Bill Malinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is providing technical support to the government of Pakistan through LSHTM, Radboud University, Aga Khan University and Health Services Academy to assist the development of the UHC benefit package of Pakistan, he added.

Representative of the DCP3 secretariat, Dr Ala Alwan mentioned that there are inequities in access to health care in Pakistan along with insufficient implementation of long-term strategic planning for the health workforce, inadequate national capacity in key areas – such as public health and family medicine, inadequate access to essential technologies and medicines, a large, unexploited and unregulated private health sector and fragmented health information systems.

“We are working with the government of Pakistan to address these gaps along with evidence based strategic work for the development of essential package of health services and inter-sectoral interventions.”

Professor Anna Vassal from the LSHTM said, “Based on disease burden in Pakistan and considering cost-effectiveness of different health interventions, scientific tools are being used to produce a health package at different levels of health care delivery system in Pakistan.

The government in Pakistan can optimise the health package by adjusting total budget, financial risk protection and equity weight.”

Presenting the draft essential package of health services, Dr Assad Hafeez, Director General Health informed the audience that adequate evidence and research for defining essential health services, followed by effective implementation of the services to all people is the best solution for effective functioning of health system in Pakistan and delivering UHC results.

He said that the approach will be piloted through a model health care system in ICT for universal health care and a pre-pilot has already been launched at Shah Allah Ditta Community Health Centre in the suburbs of Islamabad.

Representatives of the provincial and area departments of health and other stakeholders appreciated the efforts of the ministry of not only bringing all provinces, federating areas and stakeholders to the same table but also setting a comprehensive strategic direction through an inclusive consultative process.

They committed that this will become a starting point for an effective delivery of essential health services at different levels of healthcare delivery.

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