Punjab Government, UNICEF Pakistan & WHO jointly launched its SDGs-3 "Good Health & well being for All" at Lahore.
Punjab Government in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) & UNICEF Pakistan launched the Sustainable Development Goal-3 “Good Health & Well-being for All” at its launching ceremony jointly organized by P&D and WHO at Lahore.
The aim of the launch was to reiterate the government’s commitment towards achieving the health goals included in the SDGs and to provide a platform for the government and development partners. Pakistan being a member of the United Nations signed the SDGs in 2015 and made a commitment to the 17 goals and 169 targets. All SDGs were integrated and at the heart lies the SDG Goal 3; Health and well being is the basic right of every individual and the Punjab Government remains committed to achieve the targets indicated under SDG 3.
The aim of the launch was to create awareness amongst all relevant sectors, at all levels about the SDG-3 goal, its targets and how to effectively anchor them in provincial policies and programs while reflecting on the challenges and lessons learnt from the MDGs. Punjab Minister Population Welfare Zakia Shanazwaz, Minister Primary and Secondary Health Care Khawaja Imran Nazir, Jehanzaib Khan Chairman Planning and Development Punjab, Najam Ahmed Shah Secretary Specialized and Medical Education Department, Mukhtar Shah DG Health Services, Douglas G Higgins Chief of Field Office UNICEF, Duncan Selbe CEO Public Health England, Dr. Fakkar Imam VC FJMU, Dr. Rizwan Naseer DG Rescue 1122, Dr. Naeem ud Din Mian, CEO Contech International attended the ceremony.
Addressing the ceremony, Zakia Shahnwaz, Minister Population Welfare Punjab emphasized the need for different departments and organizations to working together and create crucial partnerships for the achievement of the SDGs. Speaking about the PWD’s achievements she mentioned the setting up of 117 health clinics attached to different THQs and DHQs, as well as the establishment of mobile units to provide family planning services. Along with rigorous awareness campaigns, both print and electronic, to increase visibility, these initiatives are only some of the actions taken to address the rapid rise of population in Punjab, bringing the CPR to 50% and reducing stunting figures. Minister Shahnawaz also spoke about the need for continued support from different partners, not just in the form of funding but other technical assistance such as monitoring and community mobilization. She ended her note by thanking the Chief Minister of Punjab who is one of the greatest key drivers behind these initiatives.
Chairman P&D Board Muhammad Jehanzaib Khan, in his address, thanked the World Health Organization and the UNICEF for collaborating with the P&DD for the organization of the event. He said that consensus had to be built around the SDGs because basic health, well-being, security for the society and community was a multi-party agenda.
At the ceremony, Najam Ahmed Shah, Secretary Specialized Health and Medical Education spoke about the importance of the SDG 3 as a core requirement. He also spoke about the importance of realizing the reasons behind the failure of MDG 4 and MDG 5 in order to ensure the achievement of SDGs. Shah highlighted a few initiatives such as a 38% increase in ADP budgets, specifically for education, health and saaf paani, as indicative of the government’s dedication.
Douglas Higgins, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Punjab, speaking at the event supported the initiatives taken and the importance of effective management to continue improvements and build a healthier Punjab. He specifically spoke about polio eradication in Pakistan and the significance of Punjab’s reaching the polio-free status in Punjab. Higgins highlighted that unlike the MDGs, the government is driving the SDGs which is necessary to ensure that the sustainable development goals are integrated into programmes and interventions. He concluded with UNICEF’s continued cooperation and commitment with the Government of Punjab, the Health Sector, the Planning and Development Department, the WHO and other partners to help build health.
Rizwan Naseer, DG 1122 spoke about the need to reduce the burden of diseases particularly from non-communicable diseases. He noted that there were almost 1.8 million emergencies annually which requires an emphasis on road safety, fire and building safety protocols and the strengthening of emergency services throughout the province. Naseer looked forward to a partnership between the Health Department and Emergency Services, with a focus on prevention cleaning and recycling to mobilize the power of humanity to build a better, cleaner and safer community in Punjab.
Dr. Naeem Uddin Mian, stated that 70% of health services are being rendered in the private sector estimate from private sector but the regulation of quality through standards had begun recently with the Punjab Health Care Commission. And data from the private sector was only now becoming available. Registration was now mandatory 250000 facilities have been provided the license. It is not a policing thing helping them.
Duncan Selbe, CEO, Public Health England said that the British government is committed to working with the Pakistani government to improving health
Dr Tayyab Masud from the World Bank said that his organization was committed to providing every possible support toward the achievement of the SDGs.
Mahmood Shaukat, Principal Allama Iqbal Medical College said that the issue of sustaining reforms could be addressed through the identification of factors that contributed to failure.
The participants at the event appreciated the P&DD for taking the initiative to build a multi-sector consensus around the SDGs, particularly the health goal which was at the centre of the universal development agenda.