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March 9, 2021

WHO praises Punjab health minister

Top Story

March 9, 2021

LAHORE: On the eve of the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021, the World Health Organization has acknowledged Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid among one of the outstanding women in leadership during the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

The WHO Representative for Pakistan Dr. Palitha G Mahipala, said, “Overall, women’s role has been exemplary during the pandemic in healthcare settings around the globe. The day reminds us to honor women who have rendered extraordinary services to humanity during the COVID-19 pandemic. In recognition of Dr. Yasmin Rashid’s untiring services during the pandemic, we are pleased to acknowledge her among great women leaders in fight against COVID-19. This is in consonance with the 2021 UN theme for International Women Day, ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’. She has provided great leadership in the crisis and remains on the frontlines of this combat. For medical fraternity in Pakistan and around the world, Dr. Yasmin Rashid stands out as an outstanding individual who has saved thousands of lives through effective leadership. As it is all about leadership and COVID-19, she definitely deserves to acknowledged and honored.”

Dr. Yasmin Rashid, a retired Professor from historical King Edward Medical University Lahore, has been at the forefront of Pakistan’s battle against Corona Pandemic. She is known for effectively leading the Corona Pandemic response in Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province. Punjab province constitutes 53 % of the country’s population and under her leadership, the province managed to keep their numbers to just over 29 % of total cases. Under her, the province developed 1000-bedded Field Hospital at Expo Center in Lahore. The province was also able to develop 22 Bio Safety Level Laboratories in her term and established quarantine and isolation facilities in big cities. During her term as Minister for Health, Punjab introduced typhoid conjugate vaccine in immunization program and also introduced SDG-focused development initiatives in health sector, especially five mother and child hospitals.

WHO is supporting Pakistan’s Ministry of Health Services, Regulation and Coordination (MNHSR&C) and provincial governments in the development and roll-out of the nation’s We Care campaign to protect frontline health care workers engaged in the COVID-19 pandemic response. As the lead technical agency supporting the Government of Pakistan’s COVID-19 response, WHO worked alongside the Government to train more than 100 000 healthcare workers on the use of PPEs, critical care and IPC guidelines. To maximize impact the training materials were completely adapted to the local context, made interactive and included demonstration videos to amplify key learning goals.

In her statement, Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid said that WHO acknowledgement was an honor for her. She expressed gratitude to the WHO Representative Dr Palitha Mahipala for support to Pakistan and especially to Punjab Government during the pandemic from setting of surveillance sites to lab equipment and staff trainings to patient safety measures.

She emphasized that health, economy and development were interwoven and integrated and the emerging concept of One Health was the pivot around which larger development edifice needed to be built. She said, “Health no longer is the responsibility of governments alone. This pandemic amply proves that challenges of the new era i.e. pandemics/epidemics from Corona to Polio, overcrowded hospitals, stunted growth, blood borne diseases (Hepatitis, HIV etc), universal coverage, climate change, research and development and social safety nets are of paramount importance for humanity.”