PR No. 72 HIGH LEVEL DELEGATION OF GAVI AND ITS PARTNERS CALLS ON THE FINANCE MINISTER Islamabad: March 8, 2017 .
A high level delegation of Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and its partners called on the Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, at the Ministry of Finance today.
Welcoming the delegation, the Finance Minister said that mother and child Healthcare was a priority agenda in the health sector for the Government of Pakistan. He said the Government was committing resources to the Expanded Program on Immunization as it provided the most cost-effective protection to children and mothers against deadly and debilitating diseases, in order to saves lives of hundreds of thousands of children every year. He appreciated the support of GAVI and its partners including the World Bank, UNICEF, WHO, USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for their continued support for strengthening Pakistan’s child immunization program. He said the Federal and Provincial Governments are focused on increasing immunization coverage with special attention to underserved areas. The Finance Minister highlighted that, with the help of GAVI and its partners, significant progress has been made in immunization coverage over the past one year.
Members of the delegation expressed their appreciation for the impressive performance that has been made by both the federal and provincial governments in the area of immunization during the last two years. Ms. Hind Khatib-Othman, Managing Director of Country Programmes at GAVI, conveyed the warm regards of the Deputy CEO of GAVI to the Finance Minister, and expressed gratitude to the Minister for his leadership which has been essential to the progress made in the immunization program. Dr. Timothy Evans, Senior Director of Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice at World Bank Group, also thanked the Finance Minister for his leadership, which has resulted in significant increase in immunization coverage. Dr. Orin Levine, Director of Vaccine Delivery at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said that it was exciting to see the progress that has been made over the last year. He informed the Finance Minister that, according to a John Hopkins report, every US$ 1 invested in vaccination of children results in a return of US$ 44, and therefore, Pakistan will definitely bear the fruits of its current commitment to this noble cause.
The Finance Minister appreciated the kind words and sentiments of the representatives from GAVI, World Bank, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the other partners, present in the meeting. He highlighted that, despite curtailing fiscal deficit over the past three years, the government has ensured significant increases in expenditures on social safety initiatives, including the health sector.
Finance Secretary, Health Secretary and senior officials of Ministry of Finance also participated in the meeting.