Islamabad, the 14th October, 2015 - A high level delegation from Japan currently visiting Pakistan met the Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar here today led by Secretary General of the Diet Task Force Dr. Kenzo Fujisue. The delegation comprises members of Japan’s Parliament-DIET alongwith representation of international agencies based in Japan.

Japan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Mr. Hiroshi Inomata also accompanied the delegation. The delegation evinced keen interest in key initiatives in the health sector and expressed their desire to provide support especially in Polio Eradication and Lady Health Workers program.

Welcoming the delegation the Minister said Pakistan and Japan enjoy close ties in a wide range of areas since establishing diplomatic relations in 1952. In all these years our friendship has gone from strength to strength withstanding the test of time.

Briefing the delegation on key initiatives, the Minister said access to equitable quality health services is that right of every individual. Pakistan has recently launched a major initiative to provide universal health coverage by reaching out to the most vulnerable segment with a comprehensive National Health Insurance Initiative – The Prime Minister’s Health Insurance Program.

Through this scheme poor families, whose daily income is less than two US Dollars, will be provided with free of cost health insurance to access secondary as well as priority disease treatment without any financial obligations

On the Anti-polio effort, the Minister said major gains have been made this year in reaching unreached children with 85 percent reduction in polio cases. The biggest challenge faced by the program was insecurity and inaccessibility. With the success of military operation Zarb-i-Azab and support provided by the armed forces in implementation of the campaign, that challenge is clearly behind us now.

The Minister sought support from Government of Japan for polio vaccine procurement for the year 2016-2018 for which 300 Million US Dollars are required.

The Minister requested the Parliamentarians to advocate for placing polio back on the G7 agenda which will take place in Japan on 26-27 May, 2016. She said that as we move towards the end game for Polio Eradication, this type of commitment could help garner full support for the eradication effort up to certification in Pakistan and globally.

The Minister also discussed Japan support for strengthening the recently established Dashboard in the Ministry of National Health Services which a state-of-the-art data repository.

The delegation was also apprised of the ten point Mother and new born child health Plan of Action launched by the Ministry of National Health Services in partnership with Provincial Health Departments.