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November 8, 2019

KP gets first vaccine storage centre in Peshawar


November 8, 2019

PESHAWAR: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Assistant High Commissioner (Operations) George Okoth-Obbo has asked the international community to provide financial and moral support to Pakistan and other countries for hosting millions of refugees and helping the United Nations with voluntary repatriation of the Afghan refugees to their homeland.

He was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the first-ever vaccine storage centre in Peshawar on Thursday where a large number of vaccines could be stored for the entire province.

State Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Shehryar Khan Afridi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Health Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan, Minister for Finance Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Sultan Mohammad Khan and officials of the UNHCR and Health Department were present on the occasion.

Shehryar Afridi, who was supposed to open the Cold Chain Warehouse, reached the event almost an hour behind schedule.

Having the facility of six cold rooms for storing the vaccines, the Cold Chain Warehouse has been built at the Nehaqi village near the Charsadda Road in Peshawar.

According to the UNHCR officials, one million children and a million women of child-bearing age would benefit from the facility.

Last year, the UNHCR had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Department to support the provincial government to effectively administer immunisation services in the province.

Okoth-Obbo said concentrating on the refugees’ problems the UNHCR had also initiated steps to resolve and recognise the needs of countries and communities hosting the refugees.

“Pakistan is one of the major countries providing shelter to millions of Afghan refugees for the last four decades,” he said. He added that the UNHCR had built two vaccine storages facilities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces.

“In the last five years, the UNHCR has helped channel more than $38 million to Pakistan just to support the health care,” he said. “The international community values Pakistan’s generous support to the Afghan refugees despite facing economic and social challenges,” he added.

State Minister for States and Frontier Regions Shehryar Afridi said the international community must acknowledge Pakistan’s historic role in providing shelter and other facilities to the Afghan refugees for the last 40 years.

“We are not only providing shelter to the Afghan refugees, but also sharing our schools, hospitals and other services with them,” he said. He pointed out that about 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees were still living in Pakistan. He added that some 68 percent of the refugees were living outside camps.

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