ISLAMABAD, Jul 29 (APP):President Dr Arif Alvi Wednesday while recognizing the health workers as heroes for their dedicated services during the COVID-19, said by having overcome the pandemic, Pakistan would emerge as a stronger nation. “You might be a low-paid employee, but when it comes to the national service, you stand atop. The nation feels proud of you. You are a key part of this society,” the president said addressing a reception hosted by the President House to recognize the services of the health workers, who had offered COVID-related duties at hospitals across the country.
The reception was attended by First Lady Samina Alvi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Safety and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar, Pakistan Baitul Mal Managing Director Aun Abbas Buppi, office- bearers of International Rescue Committee, and dozens of health workers and family members of those who have lost their lives during the anti-COVID services.
The reception was held at the main banquet hall of the presidency where, the president said, the visiting foreign dignitaries and heads of state were hosted. This was the first reception held after a hiatus of around six months since the outbreak of coronavirus in the country in February this year. The president said the presidency was honoured to have hosted Iftar receptions for the disabled, orphans and thalessemia patient kids during the Holy Month of Ramzan which gave the nation a message of equality.
While recalling the nation’s journey of fighting the pandemic, he said despite fierce opposition, the government allowed Tarawih prayer at mosques during the holy month and the people acted as a disciplined and responsible nation by observing the standard operating procedures, contrary to many disciplined nations. He said the country had overcome the pathogen consequent to Allah’s blessing, the government’s prudent policies and public cooperation.
While speaking high of the services of Pakistan Baitul Mal and Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, the president said it gave the people a sense of solidarity in the hour of distress. He said besides doctors and nurses, other health workers like janitors, midwives, lab technicians and others had played a brave role to rid the country of the pandemic, which was no lesser than a great favour to the nation. While sharing his regular experience of telephonic interaction with the families of the martyrs, the president said their gesture of pleasure and passion to serve the country even more was unprecedented and unique among the Pakistani nation.
Earlier, the president also distributed shields among the family members of martyred health workers and Eid gifts among those serving the COVID-related duties. Aun Abbas Buppi said the ceremony was meant to do something different to pay gratitude to the health workers before Eid as the PBM had also hosted the Afghan refugees, minorities and disabled women to assist them during the pandemic. He said the sanitary workers, midwives serving a gynecology wards and lab technicians were the unsung heroes for serving the nation while risking their own lives.
The PBM head said President Alvi deserved applause for massive awareness on SOPs, Prime Minster Imran Khan for sustaining extreme pressure for lockdown, and Dr Sania Nishtar for successfully extending cash assistance to 12 million families. He said the PBM had distributed Rs 2.7 billion among 21,000 patients and provided scholarships to 2,500 students. Dr Sania Nishtar said during the pandemic, the government had played remarkable role to strengthen the health sector by enhancing testing capacity from 450 per day to 80,000 per day, increasing number of laboratories from three to 128, training of 100,000 health workers and addition of 2,000 ICU beds. While highlighting the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, she said it would benefit almost half of the country’s population.