MOS addressing National Consultation on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-3)


 Islamabad, September 7, 2016:  A National consultation was conducted today to advocate for implementation of Sustainable Development Goals for Health jointly by Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination and in World Health Organization. The focus of the discussion was to align targets under health related SDGs with national health priorities and vision 2025.Ministers, Parliamentarians, Provincial Governments, senior policy level experts, UN agencies, and INGOs participated in the forum and expressed full commitment to support implementation of health related Sustainable Development Goals to achieve the targets by 2030.


Speaking on the occasion, Saira Afzal Tarar Minister for National Health Services said that recognizing the interdependence of health and development, the Sustainable Development Goals provide comprehensive plan of action for ending the injustices that support poor health and development outcomes.


Minister said that SDGs agenda for development is not an international agenda; it is our own agenda. It reflects our ambition and desire to give our people better quality of life. Therefore, we must take ownership of SDGs with complete dedication and see to it that policies and resources are aligned and allocated to meet the targets outlined in the SDGs.


Most recently, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination reached an agreement with the Provinces on a National Health Vision, the Minister added. The vision which is in sync with Vision 2025 recognizes that despite extensive healthcare infrastructure, there are many constraints to scaling-up essential health services. There is evidence of widening disparities in social indicators, implying that most progress has by-passed the segments of society that need the most support.  This situation is worsened by inflation and resource limitations. The national Health vision addresses these issues based on realities on ground, within the framework of post 18th Amendment Constitutional roles and responsibilities to improve the health and quality of life of all Pakistanis, particularly women and children, through access to essential health services.


Minister said that the concept of equity is critical to ensuring quality health-care reaches all who need it. Chronic and catastrophic disease remains one of the main factors that push households from poverty into deprivation.


She said that Prime Minister’s National Health Program was launched in December last year to provide quality health services to the poor and marginalized through a cashless scheme. Till date 180,000 families have been enrolled in different districts. More than 4500 patients have benefitted from treatment facilities including cardiac surgeries, cancer and other major diseases.  


She further said that another area of intervention is to address the available infrastructure and hospital facilities to improve the existing patient-bed ratio. Prime Minister has announced construction of a number of new hospitals across the country which would add more than 10,000 beds to the existing pool. It will enhance the patient-bed ratio to more than 0.7 per thousand population.


Health is central to and is a contributor to sustainable development. Pakistan has made progress but faced many challenges in making progress on the MDGs. Thus Pakistan lagged behind in achieving MDG targets. I am confident that with strong coordination with the provinces and full support of international agencies Pakistan will be able to achieve SDG 3. We will continue to seek guidance from the Planning Division in view of its over-arching role in implementation of SDGs and make every effort to be the enabler, facilitator and monitor of health-related SDG. In this context, the role of knowledge platforms and data repositories is of critical importance. Our Ministry has established a state-of-the-art World class dashboard which can be utilized to monitor progress against SDGs.


She reiterated that with sincere joint efforts we would be able to make substantial progress in improving the lot of our people and bring tangible improvement in our health indicators.


Addressing the audience, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform said we have to strive hard to achieve the goals set in the SDGs in our own interest.


He said only a healthy society can be a productive one and contribute to growth of the economy. He mentioned the Seven Pillars of Pakistan’s Vision 2025 and said they were fully aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals.


Speaking on the occasion, Shehram Khan Tarakai, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister said there was complete consensus on the issues related to health between the federal and provincial Governments. He said province was making all out effort to provide universal health coverage to its population. He mentioned the recently launched Sehat Insaf Card to provide free treatment to the poor and marginalized population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.


Balochistan Minister for Health Rehmat Saleh Baloch was also present on the occasion.         


“Universal Health Coverage is a key to achieve SDGs for health in Pakistan and it requires synergies and collaborations across the board, leaving no one behind in terms of health care access. WHO fully committed to support achieving all the targets of SDG-3 for health in Pakistan” says Dr. Michel Thieren WHO representative to Pakistan.