PESHAWAR: From December 28 to January 07, the US Embassy in Islamabad’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) section collaborated with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Prisons Department to deliver Rs9,762,700 in personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer, soap, and gloves to staff and inmates to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The provision of PPE for staff and personal hygiene items for inmates during the pandemic is part of an ongoing partnership between the US Mission to Pakistan and the KP Prisons Department to improve prisons and build capacity of corrections officials throughout Pakistan, says a press release.

Under this trusted partnership, the INL and the KP Prisons Department remain committed to training prison department officials in basic and advanced correctional institution management and providing hundreds of its staff with security, protective, and digital equipment to enhance their capacity to manage prisons more efficiently and ensure security of prisons.

On December 16, government officials from Pakistan and the United States inaugurated 155 district disease monitoring units to enable local health officials to track the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, more effectively throughout Pakistan.

The monitoring units, which are designated spaces within existing district health offices, have been equipped with modern audio-visual equipment and internet connectivity to strengthen real-time coordination on disease monitoring between the district and provincial levels.

The United States Mission to Pakistan, through the Agency for International Development (USAID), also 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.

“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.”

This mutual investment from the United States and Pakistan will add 147 megawatts hydroelectric capacity to Pakistan’s national energy grid.