KARACHI: Poor health indicators are shameful and show the need for coordinated efforts to improve the overall health situation in the country, said Saira Afzal Tarar, state minister for national health services, regulations and coordination at an ambulance distribution ceremony on Friday at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).
The minister said the Chinese government has donated modern life-saving ambulances to Pakistan, which will be deployed to areas where they are needed the most. She said the cost of one ambulance is Rs6 million and the main objective of the foreign donation is to save lives.
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Of the 80 ambulances, 20 have been handed over to the Sindh government, 20 to Punjab, 10 each to the federal government, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, five to Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
"These are life-saving ambulances and will help save the lives of poor and needy people across the country," said National Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Network director-general Dr Munir Mangrio, terming the Chinese gift "crucial".
Sindh health secretary Saeed Ahmed Mangnejo said an emergency response ambulance service will be launched in Thatta and Sujawal districts soon in collaboration with the Aman Foundation, an NGO. He said the Chinese donated ambulances will be given to areas where these are needed most.
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He added that the Sindh Government Children Hospital in North Karachi will be made functional very soon under a public-private partnership.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2016.
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