Islamabad: Japan has extended grant assistance in the form of 1 billion Japanese Yen (PKR 1.54 billion) for health and COVID-19 assistance to Pakistan.
Noor Ahmed, Secretary at Ministry of Economic Affairs, and H E Matsuda Kuninori, Ambassador of Japan, signed the exchange notes, record of discussions, and agreed minutes on procedural details on behalf of their respective governments.
Talking on the occasion, Secretary Economic Affairs Division (EAD) expressed that Pakistan values the bilateral and friendly relations with Japan, and both countries share common views on most regional and international economic issues. Japanese economic assistance has played and shall continue to play a vital role in the socio economic uplift of Pakistan, he said.
This Rs 1.54 billion grant will be used to for the purchase of several medical equipments, such as MRI system, oxygen generators and cylinders, automated external defibrillators, ECG, ultra low temperature freezers, personal protection equipment, wheelchairs, and stretchers under the Economic and Social Development Programme.
Mr Noor highlighted that the grant assistance in the form of medical equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic is timely. Pakistan is going through the second wave of the pandemic and the number of patients is higher, hence over-burdening the health systems in Pakistan, he said. This grant will supplement the health facilities of the hospitals, while the risk to health workers and doctors will be minimized due to the use of personal protection equipment during the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Ventilators, oxygen cylinders and generators will help the vulnerable and serious patients, he added.
The Secretary EAD also pointed out that Japan has played major role in eradication of polio in Pakistan; due to its untiring support Pakistan has been able to substantially control the polio virus. Japan is still insisting on complete eradication until zero polio patients are reported, he said.
Noor Ahmed also appreciated Japan’s assistance in building Intensive Care Unit & Maternal and Child Health facility at PIMS worth JPY 3.62 billion. It has offered a similar grant assistance for Hyderabad, Sindh for the future. According the Secretary EAD, Japan’s recent non-grant project assistance for Islamabad Metropolitan City for management and transportation of solid waste was also commendable, as it will not only improve the environment but also control the spread of diseases and infections.
Japan was also acknowledged for its continuous support for health, education, and security, as well as for reduction and control of floods & earthquakes through radar weather surveillance at various stations across Pakistan.
The Secretary Economic Affairs Division appreciated the government and the people of Japan for their support, with the assurance of extending all necessary facilitation for more meaningful cooperation between the two countries in the future.