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UNHCR’s assistance strengthens public health facilities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

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The Head of UNHCR’s Sub-Office in Peshawar, Mr. Bernard Inkoom, the Additional Secretary, Health, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mr. Fazal Akbar, and the Additional Director General, Health, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dr. Ikramullah Khan, inaugurate 11 health facilities that were rehabilitated and improved in Kohat district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. © UNHCR/Z. Saleah

Nine Basic Health Units and two Rural Health Centres handed over to the government authorities

Press release

Peshawar, 14 June 2021 – In an effort to improve public health services, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency rehabilitated and enhanced nine Basic Health Units and two Rural Health Centres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Strategic investments have been made in the largest refugee-hosting districts under the Refugee Affected and Hosting Areas (RAHA) programme. In Kohat district, the project worth 70 million rupees will benefit thousands of patients – Pakistanis and Afghan refugees alike. The 11 health facilities have been provided with additional labour rooms, medical equipment and furniture, as well as recovery rooms, waiting areas, latrines and boundary walls.

As part of the UNHCR’s Global Strategy for Sustainable Energy, which promotes the transition to clean, renewable energy in refugee settlements and hosting areas, UNHCR also installed solar panels to ensure an uninterrupted power supply to maternity wards. Training of paramedical staff was also provided.

On Monday, a ceremony was held to inaugurate these facilities in Kohat district. The Head of UNHCR’s Sub-Office in Peshawar, Mr. Bernard Inkoom, the Additional Secretary, Health, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mr. Fazal Akbar, and the Additional Director General, Health, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dr. Ikramullah Khan, participated in the event. Officials from the Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and district health authorities, including District Health Officer, Mr. Sameen Shah, were also present.

“The Government has very limited resources, but with UNHCR’s support, we are strengthening our public health system, particularly in densely populated areas. Health is important for everyone – refugees and the communities hosting them. With the continued cooperation between UNHCR and the Department of Health in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, we will overcome challenges posed by the pandemic,” said Mr. Akbar.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Inkoom highlighted how investments in the public health sector aim to reduce the burden placed on the Government by increasing absorption capacity in health facilities and enhancing the quality of health services. “These health facilities help promote peaceful coexistence and ensure that health care continues to be generously provided to all people, regardless of nationality or status,” said Mr. Inkoom.

He added, “I am thankful to all stakeholders and the international community who have joined hands with UNHCR since the pandemic began in Pakistan. UNHCR has worked hand-in-hand with the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to contribute to the overall efforts aiming to minimize the spread and impact of COVID-19.”

The Additional Director General, Health, Dr. Khan, appreciated UNHCR’s work to better equip the public health facilities that provide mother and child health services 24 hours, seven days a week. He expressed his gratitude for the organization’s continued support of the Government’s primary, secondary and tertiary health institutions where a significant number of Afghan patients have also been receiving health care.

The District Health Officer, Mr. Shah, noted, “It’s a dream come true. UNHCR’s assistance will support services to help the most disadvantaged mothers and children, including newborns.”

Since 2009, through the RAHA programme, UNHCR supported the implementation of 4,300 projects in the areas of education, health, infrastructure, livelihoods as well as water and sanitation across the country. A total of 12.4 million people – 85 per cent Pakistanis and 15 per cent Afghan refugees – have benefitted.

ENDS