ISLAMABAD: The D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation, also known as Developing-8, has agreed to hold regular round tables for Health and Social Protection (HSP) Programme on the Covid-19 pandemic and constituted two working groups to deal with it – implementation monitoring and resource mobilisation.
Pakistan is a founding member of the D-8. Other members include Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria and Turkey.
The development took place during a virtual Working Group Meeting of the Focal Persons of the D-8 HSP Programme on Covid-19 pandemic on Thursday, which was held to provide a platform for coordinating D-8 response to combat the disease.
The meeting was attended by delegations of health ministries of D-8 member states as well as representatives from Chatham House, Global Women Leaders in Health, WHO and ILO. Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Director General Dr Safi Muhammad Malik was the focal point for Pakistan. Director General (EC&OIC) Mr Tariq Karim, in his capacity as Pakistan’s commissioner for the D-8, also attended the meeting.
In his remarks, D-8 Secretary General Dato' Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari stated that the world was facing an unprecedented challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While appreciating responses of the member states to combat the pandemic, the secretary general emphasised the need for greater multilateral cooperation. “It is a time that requires innovative, decisive and coordinated measures to save and secure lives of 1.1 billion people in D-8 member states,” Shaari said, urging the member countries to enhance their cooperation to combat the pandemic.
In his statement, the focal person for Pakistan, Dr Malik, highlighted various steps taken by the government of Pakistan to combat the pandemic, including through various preventive measures such as necessary lockdowns, closing of schools and banning public gatherings, screening and testing, provision of PPE, surveillance of cases, expansion of isolation facilities, and information campaign.
“These steps are effective as Pakistan is still in the containment phase.” He also mentioned about the prime minister’s relief package of $8 billion launched for vulnerable groups.
He highlighted the need for cooperation among member states through; harmonisation of standards in travel and trade; mobilisation of resources to develop core health capacities; building and dissemination of information; and development of partnership with international agencies.