Pakistan Observer

$300 million USAID grant Health sector reforms & support unit inaugurated

M M Alam

Saturday, May 19, 2012 - Karachi—Edward W Birgells Regional Director US Agency for International Development - USAID (Sindh) maintaining that healthcare was important for political purposes as well as for the welfare of the people, announced that USAID had approved US $ 300 million child-health program for Pakistan “and a lot of that money would be coming to Sindh”. He was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of Health Sector Reforms & Support Unit that is being established with a Rs. 270 million grant from the USAID.

Edward W. Birgells stating that USAID would be working with the government of Sindh went on to inform: “Principally that money would be used for delivery of maternal-child health services”. He said that focus would be on private public partnerships as well as trying to support health initiatives.

He told that in addition to that particular program USAID was also funding other sectors in Sindh. Quoting few instances he pointed out that by next September construction of JPMC ward would be completed – its construction commenced last year; USAID has been working with the Government of Sindh for the development of a new hospital in Jacobabad & its construction too is also expected to be completed soon. Ed. Birgells also told about renovation of Jacobabad clean drinking water system as well as other municipal water systems in Sindh: “It gives me great pleasure to represent the American people. It is going to hopefully be instrumental in determining the public health in Sindh”. With support from USAID, the Sindh Department of Health is able to establish the Reforms and Support Unit to improve governance and make the health system more efficient and effective. United States Government funds are being used to identify strategic policy issues, undertake policy analysis, research and facilitate donor coordination across the health sector. In its five decades of collaboration with the people of Pakistan, the US Government has funded improvements in education, economic growth, energy and gender equity programs in addition to health care. Popular & affable Amanda Cauldwell, Press Officer US Consulate here was also present on the occasion.

Addressing the ladies and gentlemen in the audience Provincial Health Minister Dr. Saghir Ahmed stated that after devolution of the Ministry of Health’s functions and PHC programs to the Province, many opportunities as well as some risks had been witnessed by the Health Department.

He anticipated that HRSC would play a vital role as a think tank and help design the health policy and strategy in Sindh and would help improve the health status of 55 million people in here by ensuring provision of effective, equitable and accessible health care services at the doorsteps of the poor communities through organizational and structural reforms in the health system.
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