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Accord to improve healthcare in Pakistan

NEW YORK: The Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA) and the US Agency For International Development (USAID) on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at collaborating and sharing expertise and resources to address health challenges in Pakistan, focusing on maternal and child healthcare.

AAPNA’s President Nasar Qureshi and USAID/Pakistan Mission Director John Groarke signed the document at the Pakistani Consulate General here in the presence of Pakistan UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi and Consul General Raja Ali Ejaz.

The MoU calls for a commitment on behalf of USAID to:

Provide opportunities and logistical support through selected USAID mother and child health projects in the provinces of Sindh, KP/FATA and Punjab, for integrating health solutions with APPNA’s in the areas of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, and social and behaviour change communication.

The MoU also calls for a commitment on behalf of APPNA to:

• Provide telemedicine and web-based training to health practitioners and in-person health services to patients in select USAID-supported health outlets in the provinces of Sindh, Punjab and KP/FATA.

• Determine how it can leverage networks and/or resources in United States and Pakistan to provide and facilitate funding and knowledge and skills transfer to support agreed-upon
joint USAID-APPNA activities, and consider additional projects to reduce gaps in quality of care.

Speaking on the occasion, Qureshi, the AAPNA chief, welcomed MoU’s signing, with the hope that the agreement would pave the way for further improvements in Pakistan’s
health sector.

Groarke, the USAID/Pakistan Mission director, said the agreement would cement USAID’s relations with the people of Pakistan, whom he ranked among the most hospitable
in the world. Pakistan, he said, was headed in the right direction, having achieved political stability and making rapid economic progress.

Consul General Raja Ali Ejaz called the agreement an “important milestone” in US-Pakistan relationship and hoped that the two countries would continue to serve the Pakistani people.

In her concluding remarks, Ambassador Lodhi said that the accord would help further strengthen the ties between Pakistan and the United States. She lauded AAPNA’s contribution to Pakistan, saying Pakistani community members serve as a bridge between their country of origin and their country of adoption.

Members of the Pakistani community, including doctors of Pakistani origin, were among those present at the ceremony. APP