A delegation of UK’s DHSC and UKHSA visited Pakistan from 5th to 11th June 2022, as part of a wider visit to the Fleming Fund and GAMRIF projects in Pakistan also funded by DHSC.  The delegation had the opportunity to visit Punjab’s Secretary of Health, Mr. Ali Jan Khan, and his team to discuss the future collaboration to strengthen Intergrated Disease Surviellance and Response (IDSR) in Punjab province; to understand the priorities and areas of technical assistance as well as to meet the people who are delivering on the ground.

The UKHSA team briefed the delegates about our work in Pakistan, which is  divided in areas of IDSR surveillance (including epidemiological and IT infrastructure development support), trainings, data flows, public health laboratory network and small groups on thematic areas. Opportunities for strengthening IDSR like establishing public health Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) networks, building managers’ competences on epidemiological investigations, strengthening district capacities and resources provision, and developing repository of trained staff was discussed.

The Secretary of Health shared his views that the quality of data was important and they would like to have a third-party assessment to provide a baseline for future reference. He further stressed the inclusion of private sector, including private laboratories, in IDSR networks for all-inclusive reporting. The role of UKHSA to provide technical assistance in quality assurance and obtaining certification was discussed with integrating these efforts for sustainability at Institute of Public Health, Lahore

Figure 1 DHSC and UKHSA delegation meeting with Secretary Health and his team at Primary & Secondary Health Care Department Punjab, Lahore

By Dr Syed Wasif Javed