The United States and Pakistan have created two initiatives to improve health security and disease monitoring in Pakistan. One introduces an innovative method of evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medicine, and the other will increase the country’s ability to monitor the spread of infectious disease.
In early December, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, unveiled their new platform for monitoring new medicines in the development and approval processes. The platform, called the Pakistan Integrated Regulatory Information Management System will help Pakistani companies easily apply for permission to produce a medicine, as well as bring safe and effective medicines to market more quickly at a much lower cost.
The program was also created to comply with international pharmaceutical standards, allowing Pakistan to increase its participation in the international market.
U.S. and Pakistani government officials also announced the inauguration of one hundred and fifty-five District Disease Monitoring Units to improve local health officials’ ability to track the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, throughout Pakistan.
The United States Agency for International Development supported the training of rapid response teams working in the Monitoring Units on how to conduct contact tracing for COVID-19 cases. These teams were also trained to use data to identify potential COVID-19 hotspots within the districts, which will improve real-time coordination between the district and provincial levels.
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, Dr. Faisal Sultan, expressed his gratitude to the United States Government and acknowledged that this support will go a long way towards institutionalizing an integrated disease surveillance system in Pakistan.
The United States and Pakistan have been at the forefront of this issue, not only through our joint leadership in international initiatives like the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), but also at the country-level working closely with communities.
“Being able to rapidly monitor, detect, and respond to public health threats such as COVID-19 is critically important. It inspired our partnership with the Government of Pakistan to establish these District Disease Monitoring and Response Units and build the capacity of nearly 3,000 healthcare workers to rapidly respond to public health threats in Pakistan,” said USAID Mission Director Julie Koenen.
“We thank the Government of Pakistan for our continued collaboration as we meet the challenge of linking these units to Provincial, Regional, and Federal structures, thereby providing critical resources to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.”