PR No. 52 Islamabad

Pakistan is the first country in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and in Asia to volunteer for the Joint External Evaluation of 19 technical areas under IHR and GHSA. In this context a mission comprising of 19 international subject matter experts visited Pakistan from 27th April to 6th May 2016.  The objectives of the mission were to assess the current capabilities in areas affecting the public health, to identify the gaps and challenges and to provide recommendations for priority actions in each technical areas of IHR and GHSA.

A de-briefing session of the mission was held at the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination on 6th may 2016. The briefing was chaired by the Secretary NHSRC and attended by the mission members, provincial health department, representative of the various federal institution and partner organization. The Director General NHSRC in his welcome remarks highlighted the importance of the mission. He mentioned that as Pakistan being a signatory of IHR 2005 is therefore fully aware of the fact that all WHO member states are required to develop certain minimum core public health capacities including disease prevention, detection, identification, and timely adapted response to the public health threats of national and international concern.

The Mission team lead comprising of Dr. Karen Slater, Dr. Mika Salminen and Dr. Brian McCloskey presented the summary of the mission findings. It was informed that there are 5 thematic areas which need urgent action to ensure compliance to IHR and global health security. These include need for multi-sectoral coordination between federal and provincial levels through a joint Public Health Commission; development of mutually agreed and funded roadmap to develop relevant action plans for key priorities outlined by the mission; establishment of tiered surveillance and laboratory systems with a One Health approach to include human and animal health sector; development of uniform regulatory standards in all areas of food security and comprehensive national cross-sectional approach towards Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). This was followed by brief read out of key findings and recommended priority actions in each technical area by the subject matter experts.

Speaking on the occasion, the Regional Director of WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region Office (EMRO), Dr. Ala Alwan congratulated the Government of Pakistan on successful completion of the JEE mission as the first country in the region. He appreciated the commitment of the Ministry of NHSRC and provincial department to supporting the mission activities and said that Pakistan mission experience will serve as pioneer example for the subsequent evaluation mission in the region.

In his concluding remarks the Secretary, NHSRC, informed that GoP has fulfilled its  commitment made during the last WHO Regional Committee meeting held in Kuwait in  2015 to carry out Joint External Evaluation. He also emphasized that this is only the beginning and Pakistan needs to carry forward the momentum of the integrated and multi-sectorial efforts following the external evaluation to fill in the identified gaps. He also mentioned that now there is a need to focus on development of a comprehensive roadmap and action plans based on recommendations of the mission through the engagement of the multi-sectoral stakeholders.