Mother, child healthcare government’s top priority: Dar

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Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has said that mother and child healthcare was a priority of incumbent government in health sector.

He said this while talking to a high-level delegation of Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and its partners who called on him here on Wednesday.

He said the government was committed to expanding program on immunization as it provided the most cost-effective protection to children and mothers against deadly and debilitating diseases, in order to save lives of hundreds of thousands of children every year.

The finance minister has appreciated the support of GAVI and its partners including the World Bank, UNICEF, WHO, USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for their continued support for strengthening Pakistan’s child immunization program.

“Federal and provincial governments are focused on increasing immunization coverage with special attention to underserved areas and with the help of GAVI and its partners, significant progress has been made in immunization coverage over the past one year”, he added.

During the meeting, members of the delegation have expressed their appreciation for the impressive performance that has been made by both the federal and provincial governments in the area of immunization during the last two years.

Ms Hind Khatib-Othman, Managing Director of Country Programmes at GAVI, conveyed the warm regards of the GAVI deputy CEO to the finance minister and expressed gratitude for his leadership which has been essential to the progress made in the immunization program.

Dr Timothy Evans, Senior Director of Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice at World Bank Group, also thanked the minister for his leadership, which has resulted in significant increase in immunization coverage.

Dr Orin Levine, Director of Vaccine Delivery at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said that it was exciting to see the progress that has been made over the last year.

The finance minister appreciated the sentiments of the representatives from GAVI, World Bank, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the other members of the delegation present in the meeting. He highlighted that despite curtailing fiscal deficit over the past three years, the government has ensured significant increases in expenditures on social safety initiatives, including the health sector.

Finance secretary, health secretary and senior officials of Ministry of Finance were also present in the meeting.