‘Promotion of health sector among govt’s top priorities’

* Mamnoon thanks Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for approving $250m to combat infectious diseases

ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain has said that the present government accords highest priority to the promotion of the health sector, and that vigorous steps are being taken at various levels to provide basic health facilities to all, especially the poor segment of society in the far-flung areas of the country.
The president said this in a meeting with Mark Dybul, the executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, who called on him at the Presidency on Monday.
The president appreciated the role and contribution of the Global Fund to Combat TB, AIDS and Malaria in Pakistan and said that the financing institution’s support had benefited thousands of TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria patients in the country. 
Highlighting the government’s efforts for improvement in the health sector, the president said that the Prime Minister’s Special Initiative of Health Insurance is in process to provide equitable health services to the poor and marginalised population. 
The president remarked that the government attaches priority to the control of the three infectious diseases in Pakistan – TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria – as these diseases posed a major public health threat to the people. 
The president thanked the global fund for approving $250 million for next three years to combat the three infectious diseases in Pakistan, and assured that the government of Pakistan would continue working with the fund and national and international stakeholders to cope with the global challenge of combating the three diseases in Pakistan and worldwide. 
On TB control, the president said that Pakistan had made great progress in TB control by providing free diagnosis and treatment services. 
He appreciated the role of Dr Lucica Ditiu and the Stop TB Partnership for providing strategic support to the National TB Control Programme Pakistan in achieving the MDG targets. The president said that Pakistan was well on track towards the MDG targets for TB control, and expressed the hope that the comprehensive strategic plan developed by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination would help provide universal access to TB care.
The delegates thanked the president for meeting them and appreciated the various steps being taken by the government to contain the three infectious diseases in Pakistan.
Dybul was accompanied by Dr Lucica Ditiu, the executive secretary of the Global Stop TB Partnership; Dr Nima Saeed Abid, country representative of WHO in Pakistan; Dr Werner Buehler, fund portfolio manager, High Impact Asia, of Global Fund; and Dr Sharaf Ali Shah, chairperson of the Stop TB Partnership Pakistan.

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