PESHAWAR: The United States Government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Tuesday delivered essential and lifesaving healthcare equipment to the district health officer (DHO) for healthcare facilities across Mohmand tribal district.

The equipment will not only help doctors and nurses save precious lives but also reduce the financial burden on the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that is already facing increased pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The equipment includes hospital beds and bedside tables, stretcher trolleys, examination tables, oxygen masks, surgical equipment, weighing scales and other essential equipment and supplies, says a press relese.

“We should not forget the challenges we had before the coronavirus pandemic,” said US Consul General Sebron Toney during a virtual handover ceremony via a video-link from Peshawar.

“The challenges are still there. Women and children are suffering because of lack of basic health services, while the province’s healthcare system faces increased challenges with decentralisation of powers, the merger of the tribal areas into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the threat of the pandemic. This equipment, coupled with the specialised training USAID recently provided to 570 healthcare professionals, will save numerous lives.”

“This donation of new equipment for Mohmand district is one more step towards providing critical health care for those in need,” said Julie Koenen, Mission Director for USAID/Pakistan. “According to the 2017-2018 Demographic and Health Survey that USAID co-funded, more than half of the children in the newly merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are chronically malnourished, and nearly one-third of pregnant women do not receive prenatal care. USAID-supported programming is dedicated to improving the delivery of essential health services in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, as well as preventing, detecting, and responding rapidly to infectious disease outbreaks in epidemic-prone areas,” Koenen said.

“The strength of our partnership is highlighted by this gracious donation of equipment, an act that will improve the lives of mothers and children of Mohmand district,” said Additional Secretary for Health Dr Irfanullah Mehsud.

He was honoured to receive the equipment on behalf of the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, ensuring it gets put to good use, for its intended purpose, saving lives, while building the capacity of the health care system for the people of Mohmand district.

Dr Irfanullah also said access to healthcare facilities remains a top priority for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. As evidence, Dr Irfanullah said the KP government recently presented a Rs923 billion 2020-2021 budget to the Provincial Assembly focused on improving the provincial health care system and mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19 through tax relief and other administrative measures – including providing all KP residents access to free health care.