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World Economic Forum: PM Shehbaz calls upon bridging global inequity in health sector

He acknowledges Bill Gates’ generosity during 2022 floods as well as his contribution for eradication of polio in Pakistan

By News Desk

April 28, 2024 05:28 PM


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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif while highlighting challenges in the global health system, said that the global inequity in the health sector is the first and foremost problem, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

PM Shehbaz passed these remarks while speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Redefining Global Health Agenda’ during the special meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Riyadh.

He called upon bridging the widening gap between the Global South and the Global North. “The yawning gap between the Global South and the Global North should be bridged,” he emphasized.

Sharing his personal experiences, the prime minister said that treatment for a fatal disease like cancer was too costly for the poor population of Pakistan.

The prime minister said that the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the existing gaps largely between the Global North and Global South in terms of the provision of health facilities and distribution of vaccines.

He said that the climate change issue had also completely changed the landscape. Pakistan was not responsible for any emissions in the world, he said, adding that in the year 2022, it witnessed the worst climate-triggered floods which hugely devastated the infrastructure and buildings and consequently, they had to spend billions of rupees to rehabilitate the affected people.

Prime Minister Shehbaz said that for the rehabilitation efforts, they sought costly loans. “Can a developing country like Pakistan afford it?” he questioned and observed that for the provision of health facilities, a developing country like Pakistan requires resources.

He said that as a chief minister of Punjab, he had provided about 130 million inhabitants of the province with best medical treatment initiatives like screening and treatment facilities for Hepatitis in the remotest and backward areas of the province where the poor people had been in dire need of basic facilities like education and health.

The prime minister further informed that as the former chief minister, he also established the first kidney and liver hospital in Punjab which was probably one of the best in Asia where the poor patients were provided with free of cost treatment.

About Dengue outbreak in 2011 in the province, he shared that the phenomenon in the health sector was one of the biggest in the world. But they got experts and equipment and with the cooperation of entire government machinery, civil society and common man launched a massive drive against the dengue larvae, he added.

“They were able to control the outbreak with collective efforts and meager resources,” he said, adding that it was a test case for the global study in the health sector. The prime minister, in his remarks, appreciated Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their support and provision of vaccines for polio eradication drives in Pakistan.

The PM also acknowledged Bill Gates’ generosity during the 2022 floods to support the affected people of Pakistan. He shared his concerns over the mortality rates of mothers and children, adding that about 54 countries were still far behind in achieving the SDGs targets. Another 4.9 billion people across the globe had no access to basic services, he added. The PM said that the world was vulnerable to any pandemic but they had learned from the past experiences and building on it.

On this occasion, the Prime Minister paid special tribute to Bill Gates, who was among the participants, for the efforts of the Bill Gates Foundation to eradicate polio in Pakistan. The PM said it would not be fair not to mention the steps taken by Bill Gates to eradicate polio in Pakistan, adding that it was the generosity of the Bill Gates Foundation that ensured the supply of polio vaccine to millions of children in Pakistan every year. At the end of the conversation, the prime minister gave special praise to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the health sector initiatives.

The PM said the Saudi king and the Saudi Crown Prince were helping the suffering humanity with their actions.

Expressing his views, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed collective efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Other participants opined that the conflicts in the world were increasing and impacting the health sector requirements and stressed that resource-rich countries should assist the communities in need. They underlined the need to invest more in the health sector.

 

 

Reporter: Awais Kiyani

 


News Desk


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