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Sunday November 28, 2021

Australia helps boost NIH COVID-19 testing capacity

July 16, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Australian High Commission has launched an initiative with the National Institute of Health (NIH) to help double the Covid-19 testing capacity across Islamabad and the four provincial capitals of Pakistan.

The Australian grant will be administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) through the National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF). Australia’s assistance aims to enhance genomic sequencing capacity for the early detection of new variants. This includes training 500 healthcare workers to use new lab equipment safely and effectively.

To support the Pakistan Preparedness and Response Plan for Covid-19 Pandemic and protect the vulnerable, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and NDRMF are fast tracking the project’s implementation. Australia’s High Commissioner Dr Geoffrey Shaw on the occasion said that Australia stands with the people and government of Pakistan in the battle against Covid-19 for strengthening the capacity of laboratories which is critical to prevent transmission of the virus, especially as new variants emerge."

Shaw reminded that “While we have entered the vaccination stage of the pandemic, lessons from around the world continue to highlight the importance of public health preparedness. Australia is pleased to support Pakistan to undertake Covid-19 surveillance and vaccination, simultaneously.”

The Executive Director of NIH, Major General Aamer Ikram, said that the NIH deeply appreciates Australia’s grant for pandemic management. This project is designed to upgrade the NIH equipment and improve our diagnostic capabilities. Australia’s support will be put to immediate use in Pakistan’s drive to overcome Covid-19