OIC holds online emergency session on coronavirus pandemic

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ISLAMABAD: The steering committee on health of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Friday held an emergency session over the current situation of the coronavirus pandemic
According to a joint statement issued at the end of the video conference of OIC Steering Committee on Health (OIC-SCH) held to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, the regional body urged member countries to exchange more information, experiences and capabilities to combat COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting was attended by health ministers, and representatives from OIC member states, as well as heads and representatives of OIC institutions and organisations including President of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB Group) and a number of international organisations. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) and Minister of State for Health Dr Zafar Mirza represented Pakistan.
In his remarks, OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef A Al-Othaimeen highlighted the need for the OIC member countries to take immediate and decisive measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. He expressed OIC’s readiness to utilise available resources to help the peoples of the Islamic world in these difficult times and expressed appreciation to the IsDB and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for their initiatives.
Addressing the meeting, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza underlined the need of a collective international response to cope with challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.
He underscored that Pakistan had been actively engaged in containing the pandemic from its outset by taking several preventive measures. He stated that planning and coordination efforts are being led by Prime Minister Imran Khan himself.
Dr Mirza further said that to ensure a unified national response, a robust institutional mechanism was set up under the National Security Committee (NSC) and National Coordination Committee (NCC). He termed the pandemic both as a challenge and opportunity for introspection on healthcare spending and emergency preparedness.
He emphasised on the importance of health security as a key component of national security, and underlined the need to develop health regulations at international level and a legal framework at national level to enhance investment in healthcare security infrastructure.
The special assistant said that OIC should strengthen its capacity to cope with this unprecedented challenge by exploiting comparative advantage of member States in the development of pharmaceutical products, vaccines and PPE. He also highlighted Pakistan’s comparative advantage in the healthcare sector.
He assured the OIC General Secretariat and OIC member states of Pakistan’s full cooperation in combating the pandemic. Pakistan is a member of the OIC-SCH along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Maldives, Mauritania, Chad, Turkey, Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sudan.
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