A senior level delegation from the World Health Organisation’s EMRO office visited Pakistan to get an overview of the blood transfusion system in the country. The delegation includes Dr. Franciscus Adrianus Konings, Regional Advisor, and Dr. Yetmgeta E. Abdella, Medical Officer, Blood Safety. The itinerary of the Mission included meetings with key stakeholders and visits to public, private and NGO sector blood establishments in Islamabad and Lahore. The delegation was pleased to see the progress made by the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme especially in the blood regulatory systems.
The WHO is leading the effort of promoting and protecting good health worldwide within the UN systems since 1948. The WHO recognizes the strengthening of blood regulatory system as one of the key priority interventions to improve blood safety and availability and the same is highlighted in the WHO Regional Strategic Framework (2016–2025) endorsed by the Regional Committee including Pakistan Health Ministry. The WHO is providing technical assistance to the Safe Blood Transfusion Programme in Pakistan since the inception of this project in 2010. The objective of the current mission was to follow up on the implementation of the action plan agreed as per regional strategic framework for the strengthening of blood transfusion system in Pakistan.
The delegation during the 4-day Mission met Mr. Azhar Ali, Choudhary, Federal Secretary CA&DD, Dr. Assai Ardakani, WHO Representative Pakistan, Prof. Hasan Abbas Zaheer, National Coordinator SBTP, Dr. Asim Altaf, Additional Secretary Health Punjab, Dr. Ajmal Khan, CEO, Punjab Healthcare Commission, Prof. Masood Gondal, Vice Chancellor FJM University, Dr. Zafar Iqbal, Director IBTS Punjab, Prof. Nisar Ahmed, President, Pakistan Society of Haematology, Dr. Muhammad Athar, Secretary Punjab BTA, Usman Waheed, Technical Expert, SBTP, Dr. Shabnam Bashir, Director Punjab Thalassemia Programme among others. The blood banks visited by the delegation included PIMS Hospital, PRCS Blood Donor Centre, National Institute of Health, Pakistan BaitulMal Thalassaemia Centre, Sundas Foundation, Punjab Institute of Cardiology, National Medical Hospital and Children Hospital, Lahore.