U.S., Pakistan Hold Strategic Dialogue on Health Issues

Posted by Rick Snelsire
June 28, 2010
USAID Dr. Brems Joins Health Workers at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences

About the Author: Rick Snelsire serves as Spokesperson at U.S. Embassy Islamabad.

A delegation of U.S. officials visiting Islamabad for the Health track of the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue called on Health Minister, Makdoom Shahabuddin on June 28 at the start of a meeting of Pakistani and U.S. officials to discuss the current state of Pakistan's health system.

This is the second Strategic Dialogue between the two countries on the topic of health, and underscores the U.S. commitment to a long-term partnership with Pakistan. The Minister emphasized that the partnership is based on the fundamental principle that health is a prerequisite for Pakistan's citizens to achieve their social, developmental, and economic goals. The U.S. delegation confirmed that the relationship between the United States and Pakistan has never been more important in our shared histories.

A key focus was the importance of Pakistan's National Health Policy, which outlines the priorities for the nation, that include family planning, maternal and child health, workforce development, infectious diseases in Pakistan, and meeting the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Representatives from the governments of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Punjab and Sindh discussed their heath care priorities. The provinces highlighted their need for improved primary health care facilities, more female medical staffing, and better access to emergency care. In addition, the provinces spoke of their concerns about meeting family planning needs and expanding their programs for immunization, and infectious diseases -- specifically polio and hepatitis.

The Pakistan delegation was led by, Ms. Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Sector, and Secretary of Health Mr. Khushnood Lashari. The U.S. Delegation was led by Dr. Nils Daulaire, Director of Global Health Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Dr. Susan Brems, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The two delegations have agreed to continue the Dialogue in Working Groups as a next step and the larger group would reconvene at a later stage to continue the efforts to work together on Pakistan's health priorities.



United States
June 28, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

If the Pakistani government paid and supported the education of female doctors in exchange for a 5 year commitment to work in maternal and child related health matters it might jumpstart an entire maternal health industry in Pakistan. Having an entire network of well qualified doctors around every part of the country could serve as the underpinning of a health service and ensure quality medical care for women and children. If America designed an excellent hopital/clinic in a box, they could quickly establish a unified medical system in any country like Haiti or Afghanistan. This would immediately improve the quality of health of people worldwide and also improve our standing in the world. The same should also be considered for education. A type of roll out program as efficient and fast as ordering a Mc Donald's hamburger or kebab.

Laila G.
California, USA
June 30, 2010

Laila G. in California writes:

Almost always, these national level dialogues in Pakistan conveniently exclude nurses, midwives, and other key health care professionals, who are the true ground level experts when it comes to hospital-based care and community/public health services. Excluding these key health team members makes any health policy, be it at the institutional, network, county, city, or national level, lifeless and irrelevant. These top-down policies have little basis in the reality and no ownership at the grassroots. No measurable improvements in health processes and outcomes can be achieved in the absence of support and buy in from the local experts. Therefore, I would like to remind the top stakeholders not to forget or ignore nursing professionals and create genuine means and ways for them to participate in improving the health care system of Pakistan.

Thank you!


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