On the eve of International Women's Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) acknowledged Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid among one of the outstanding women in leadership during the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a message, 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 honour 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 the fight against Covid-19.”
He said that 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’.
The WHO representative said, “She has provided great leadership in the crisis and remains on the frontlines of this combat. For the 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 honoured.”
Dr Yasmin, a retired professor from historical King Edward Medical University Lahore, has been at the forefront of Pakistan’s battle against the pandemic. She is known for effectively leading the Corona Pandemic response in Punjab.
Punjab constitutes 53% of the country’s population and under her leadership, the province managed to keep its numbers to just over 29% of total cases.
Under her, the province developed a 1,000-bed field hospital at the Expo centre 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 immunisation programme and also introduced SDG-focused development initiatives in the health sector, especially five mother and child hospitals.
The WHO is supporting Pakistan’s Ministry of Health Services, Regulation and Coordination and Provincial Governments in the development and rollout 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, the 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 the 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, Dr Yasmin said that the WHO acknowledgment was an honour for her. She expressed gratitude to Dr Palitha Mahipala for support to Pakistan and especially to the Punjab government during the pandemic from setting of surveillance sites to lab equipment and staff trainings to patient safety measures.
She emphasised 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 like pandemics or epidemics from corona to polio, overcrowded hospitals, stunted growth, blood-borne diseases like Hepatitis, HIV, etc., universal coverage, climate change, research and development and social safety nets are of paramount importance for humanity.”