Capacity-building event seeks stakeholders’ vibrant role to combat COVID-19

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Altaf Hamid Rao,

MIRPUR, (Parliament Times):    The 3-day series of capacity-building training sessions for Master Trainers, Health Managers and Healthcare Service Providers on Prevention of infection and Standard Precautionary Measures regarding COVID-19 concluded at state-run Mohtrma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed (MBBS) Medical College here on Thursday with multiple recommendations to combat the pandemic collectiv ely by all concerned stake-holders to the best of their respective professional skills and abilities – most particularly through adoption of initial preventive measures.

The AJK Population Welfare Department hosted the essentially-needed trainings for the Population and Healthcare workers, medical consultants and population & health managers, supported by UNFPA (United Nations Population Funds) Pakistan with the collaboration of Jhpiego Pakistan —an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University—under UNFPA funded program, designed to respond COVID-19 emergency by strengthening capacity of existing heath workforce engaged in emergency response and routine service delivery. The program regarding emergency response is being implemented across the country.

Addressing the moot, the chair – Raja muhammad Razzaque, Secretary population welfare Department of Azad Jammu & Kashmir government, said that the pandemic of Covid-19 entailed various dimensions and repercussions for global economy including our social and cultural systems while it has put an precedented pressure on our health system. He emphasized to realise that business as usual is not going to work and we should prepare ourselves for a system that should have the capacity to work and deliver despite the pandemic.

“Although, Govt. of AJK took timely decision to lockdown the State which gave highly encouraging and positive results and we in AJK, with kindness of Allah Almighty, have minimum number of cases but yet the threat is hovering and we need to act quickly and robustly to contain the coronavirus in logical and conclusive manner”, he said and added “we, in these testing times, need to transform the challenges into opportunities. That’s why, Govt. is making all possible efforts to build the capacity of our population and health work force to regain its strength for service delivery and to fight back the pandemic effectively, he said.

Razaq especially thanked UNFPA Pakistan for supporting the capacity building of AJK population and health work force while relying on international best practices to contain the pandemic with national zeal. He also appreciated the Jhpiego Pakistan for coming forward for imparting trainings to handle the challenge in concrete manner. He equally thanked the Principal and faculty of MBBS Medical college for facilitating the capacity building sessions at Mirpur. He equally appreciated the reciprocal response of Dr. Farooq Noor medical superintendent DHQ Teaching hospital Mirpur for leading the group of senior medical consultants in the training session which has made the training exercise meaningful and result oriented.

The Secretary Population Welfare Department said that next series for similar training event was planned to be hosted in Muzaffarabad in near future, .

Dr. Fauzia Assad, Country Director Jhpiego Pakistan, while highlighting the role of her organization said that under UNFPA funded project, Jhpiego is intended to support health and population welfare departments through capacitating health workforce engaged in emergency and routine services delivery during COVID19 emergency. She concisely enlightened on the main contours of the three days training and thanked Secretary Population Welfare Department for providing commendable support in implementation of all projects by Jhpiego in Azad Jammu & Kashmir.

She being a member of AJK Task Force on Population, looked forward to work with AJK PWD in larger public interest. Similarly, Professor Dr. Tariq Masood, vice principal MBBS Medical college welcomed the training activities and termed it as a ray of hope in this critical time. Likewise, Professor Dr. Imran Butt and Dr. Farooq Noor on second day of training activity designated for Health Managers, spoke in detail on challenges for clinical management of Covid-19 positive patients and shared their experience with participants. Considering the current situation with regards to COVID19 emergency and its response, they emphasised to follow Infection Prevention and Control protocols during routine services delivery in order to ensure safety of healthcare providers and the patients.

Secretary population welfare, Principal MBBS Medical college and Dr. Farooq Noor medical superintendent DHQ Teaching hospital Mirpur gave away the certificate to the participants.

Senior medical consultants, population & health managers and population & healthcare workers in their respective input called for continuation of such capacity building workshops to strengthen the skills of the stake holders especially the medicos in line with the need of the modern age.

They termed it as a safe way forward for continuing service delivery during these testing times in effective manners while ensuring the health safety of both the healthcare workers and the patients. Stringent observance of SoP (standing operating procedures)— social distancing, frequent hand sanitization and wearing of surgical masks was ensured by the organizer during the training sessions.