ISLAMABAD, Jan 4 (APP):Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Aamer Mehmood Kiani has pledged to support all residents of the country, including Afghan refugees to have access to better health services. He said that the provision of standard health facilities and reforms in public sector health institutions was the top priority of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led government. “We are committed to providing better healthcare facilities to everyone  irrespective of their backgrounds,” he said.The minister said this in a meeting at UNHCR office here Friday. The meeting discussed various issues pertaining to the well being of Afghan Refugees. During the meeting, various collaboration initiatives were also discussed including UNHCR support to upgrade equipment in health facilities, designing joint programme to address health, nutrition, clean water and hygiene for Afghan.
The minister said that Afghan refugees both men and women, were also trained as paramedics at relevant Islamabad based institutions. He added that it will provide livelihood opportunities for the paramedics and allow refugees communities to benefit from their services. The minister said that this initiative will impact the lives of millions of Afghan refugees.
He informed that the ministry has planned to address all major health issues. He added the government was already working on a plan to  raise awareness on various diseases in public. “We will ensure that refugees' health is reflected on the agenda of various thematic months,” he said.
United Nations Representative for Pakistan Ruvendrini Menikdiwela said UNHCR has been providing health assistance to refugees and their Pakistani host communities for around four decades. “In the past five years, we have contributed US$ 38 million to support healthcare for both refugees and refugee hosting communities,” she said.
She said that UNHCR will continue to advocate for inclusion of refugees into health plans and programmes of the government of Pakistan, while concurrently supporting the millions of host community members. “We will invest resources in the government’s healthcare system to enhance quality and coverage of primary, secondary and tertiary care health services in districts hosting refugees,” she said.
In addition to its regular healthcare programmes which include provision of health equipment to hospitals in refugee hosting areas, the UNHCR has recently procured office equipment for the health ministry.