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WHO wants action for better health for all

LAHORE:On the World Health Day, commemorated globally on Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for urgent action to eliminate health inequities and attain better health for all and leaving no one behind.

Meanwhile, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, in his video message, once again stressed the need for taking precautionary measures and following guidelines to address the issues of health and safety during the corona pandemic.

Addressing a webinar at the University of Health Sciences (UHS), WHO Punjab Head Dr Jamshaid Ahmed said that discrimination ran counter to global commitments to reach universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It undermines investment in health systems, deters people from accessing or seeking health services, divides, disempowers, and deprives people of their basic dignity”, Dr Jamshaid added.

He said that there was a need to address the underlying causes of discrimination within and beyond the health system. “This can only be achieved by working across sectors, agencies and more actively engaging with civil society organisations representing both health workers and affected communities. The governments, agencies, media and community leaders must get united in declaring discrimination in healthcare unacceptable”, he opined. The webinar was organised by UHS Public Health Department in connection with World Health Day, commemorated every year on April 7. The theme this year is “Building a Fairer, Healthier World.” The department’s head Professor Fatima Mukhtar and Assistant Professor Dr Shehnoor Azhar facilitated the talk.

UHS Vice-Chancellor Professor Javed Akram said that despite improvements in health outcomes globally and in the region, these gains had not been shared equally across different countries or communities. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had grave consequences for the people already experiencing inequities. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted those people already socially, economically, or geographically disadvantaged, and evidence shows a worsening trend of disparities and inequity across the world”, he said, adding that scaling up vaccine production and equitable distribution remained the major barrier to ending the acute stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Islamabad, Senior Joint Secretary Niaz Muhammad Khan highlighted various components of the Ehsaas Programme. He said that the “One-Window Ehsaas” was planned to facilitate citizens’ access to all the social protection programmes and online public goods.

Meanwhile, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar visited UHS. He especially got recorded his video message on World Health Day. In his message, the governor said that health is a fundamental human right and a great blessing. Every person deserved to live a healthy life. He stated that doing exercise daily was the best way to remain healthy. He stressed the need for adopting precautionary measures such as washing hands, wearing masks, physical distancing, etc., and following the government’s guidelines and standard operating procedures during the pandemic.

The Punjab governor later visited UHS Telemedicine Centre and National Vaccination Centre. UHS VC Professor Javed Akram also presented the latest edition of the Pakistan Society of Internal Medicine (PSIM) journal to Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar.

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