World can Learn from Pakistan in Fight against Coronavirus: WHO Chief

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Director-General of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaks during the news conference on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Geneva, Switzerland February 11, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The WHO chief also praised community health workers of the country who have been trained to go door-to-door vaccinating children for polio

Clarion India

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s successful handling of the coronavirus pandemic is getting international recognition and even the World Health Organization’s director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom has praised the country saying it is among those that the world needs to learn from.

Adhanom in a statement at a media briefing endorsed the Pakistan government’s strategy against the virus and deploying of the infrastructure “built up over many years for polio to combat COVID-19.”

More than 27.19 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 888,326 have died, according to a Reuters tally, since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

“This will not be the last pandemic,” Tedros told a news briefing in Geneva. “History teaches us that outbreaks and pandemics are a fact of life. But when the next pandemic comes, the world must be ready – more ready than it was this time.”

The WHO chief also praised community health workers of the country who have been trained to go door-to-door vaccinating children for polio.

“They have been utilized for surveillance, contact tracing and care and the result we see a significant drop in the number of coronavirus cases”, said Adhanom.

He says Pakistan is among seven countries from which the international community can learn lessons on how best to deal with the pandemic.

Explaining why this is the case, Dr Tedros said at a media briefing in Geneva, Switzerland: “Pakistan deployed the infrastructure built up over many years for polio to combat Covid-19. Community health workers who have been trained to go door to door, vaccinating children for polio, have been utilised for surveillance, contact tracing and care.”

Dr Tedros cited Thailand, Italy, Mongolia, Mauritius, Uruguay and Germany as other shining examples of how to tackle the crisis.

He added: “There are many other examples [of successful countries] we could give, including Cambodia, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Spain, Vietnam and more. Many of these countries have done well because they learned lessons from previous outbreaks of SARS, MERS, measles, polio, Ebola, flu and other diseases.

“That’s why it’s vital that we all learn the lessons this pandemic is teaching us.”

To date, Pakistan has reported 300,361 Covid-19 cases and 6,370 fatalities, while over 280,000 people have recovered from the virus.

In a tweet, former Pakistan health minister Dr Zafar Mirza hailed the remarks by the WHO chief, saying his praise represented a “great honour” for the people of Pakistan.

He said: “Pakistan included among seven countries by WHO Director General- countries that the world can learn from about how to fight future pandemics. Great honour for the people of Pakistan. Alhamdolilah.”

Mirza had supervised Pakistan’s Covid-19 response before resigning from the post in July.

Dr Tedros said on Monday the world must be better prepared for the next pandemic, as he called on countries to invest in public health.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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