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PM calls upon bridging gap between Global South, North in health sector

Shehbaz Sharif

Erfan Khan

RIAYDH, Apr 28 (APP/DNA): Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday while terming the global inequity in health sector as ‘the first and foremost problem’ called upon bridging the widening gap between the Global South and the Global North.

Expressing his views in a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) regarding global health, 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 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 but in the year 2022, it witnessed the worst climate triggered floods which hugely devastated the infrastructure and buildings and as consequently, they had to spend billion 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 provision of health facilities, a developing country like Pakistan required resources.

“The yawning gap between the Global South and Global North should be bridged,” he emphasised.

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

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 facility 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 health sector.

The prime minister appreciated the initiatives launched by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the health sector and said that they had been serving the ailing humanity with their kind gestures.

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.

He also acknowledged Bill Gates’ generosity during the 2022 floods to support the affected people of Pakistan.

He expressed that with their cooperation, they would be able to get rid from the polio.

Expressing his views, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed upon collective efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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 DG said that the world was vulnerable to any pandemic but they had learnt from the past experiences and building on it.

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 of investing more in the health sector.

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