APPNA, USAID Ink Accord to Improve Healthcare in Pakistan
New York: The Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at collaborating and sharing expertise and resources to address health challenges in Pakistan focusing on maternal and child healthcare.
APPNA President Nasar Qureshi and USAID Pakistan Mission Director John Groarke signed the document at the Pakistani Consulate General in the presence of Pakistan Ambassador to UN, MaleehaLodhi, and Consul General Raja Ali Ejaz.
In In his spe ech on the occasion, APPNA President M. Nasar Qureshi, MD, said:
“The process was initiated when I had the privilege to meet Mr. John Groarke, Mission Director, USAID Pakistan, during his visit to USA in March. We were able to discuss the value that APPNA can bring to USAID in its activities in Pakistan and potentially in other countries. MrGroarke, and USAID officers in Pakistan, especially MsKanwalBokharey, realized the potential, and pursued with us a mechanism that this relationship could come to fruition. APPNA, will as always, provide these services through its volunteer physicians, and USAID will provide access and logistical support at their centers.
“I am grateful to DrSajid Chaudhry, President-Elect, Dr Dawood Nasir, Treasurer, DrMubasher Rana, Immediate Past president and Chair APPNA Medical Corps, and DrNaheedUsmani, Chair APPNA Telemedicine Program, for traveling to New York to attend this landmark event. I will like to express my thanks to all the members who attended the ceremony despite poor weather. We are also obliged to the Consul General of Pakistan in NY, Honorable Raja Ejaz for hosting the ceremony at the Consulate, and for The Permanent Representative of Pakistan to United Nations, Honorable Dr. MaleehaLodhi, for gracing the occasion to witness the signing of the MOU…”
The MoU called for a commitment on behalf of USAID to provide opportunities and logistical support through selected USAID mother and child health projects in the provinces of Sindh, KP, FATA and Punjab, for integrating health solutions with APPNA in the areas of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, social and behavior change communication.
The MoU further called for a commitment on behalf of APPNA to provide telemedicine and web-based training to health practitioners and in-person health services to patients in selecting USAID-supported health outlets in the provinces of Sindh, Punjab, KP and FATA.
It would determine how it can leverage networks and resources in the United States and Pakistan to provide and facilitate funding and knowledge and skills transfer to support joint activities of USAID-APPNA, and consider additional projects to reduce gaps in the quality of care.
Speaking on the occasion, APPNA chief Qureshi welcomed the signing of the MoU with the hope that the agreement would pave the way for further improvements in Pakistan's health sector.
Groarke said the agreement would cement USAID's relations with the people of Pakistan, whom he ranked among the most hospitable in the world.
Pakistan was headed in the right direction, having achieved political stability and making rapid economic progress, he said.
Consul General Raja Ali Ejaz called the agreement an "important milestone" in US-Pakistan relations and hoped that the two countries would continue to serve the people of Pakistan.
Ambassador Lodhi, in her concluding remarks, said the accord would help further strengthen the ties between Pakistan and the United States. She lauded APPNA's contribution to Pakistan and said that Pakistani community members serve as a bridge between their country of origin and their country of adoption.
The members of the Pakistani community, including doctors of Pakistani origin, were among those present at the ceremony.