The World Health Organization (WHO)’s head in Pakistan, Dr Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala, has said that the country faces a human resource for health (HRH) crisis as the available resources in the sector can meet only one-tenth of the country’s requirement.
While addressing the senior faculty during his visit to the University of Health Sciences (UHS), on Monday, Dr Mahipala said that Pakistan immediately needed two hundred thousand nurses. He called on the country to take steps to enhance its health workforce.
“No healthcare system can deliver quality care without the input of trained, committed professionals including quality doctors and nurses”, he opined.
The WHO head said that UHS was a great institution and its focus on primary health care by strengthening family medicine was particularly commendable. He advised the university administration to prepare a five-year plan for the development of its programs and assured WHO support in this regard.
Dr Palitha Mahipala further said that at present all the focus was on universal health coverage. He added the target of universal health coverage in Pakistan was 60pc by 2030. The WHO head said that primary care was the most comprehensive health care but it should not be limited to providing a few medicines to the patients. While commending UHS’s role in medical education, Dr Palitha Mahipala said that it might be considered to be a WHO Collaborating Centre in the future in an area of common interest.
UHS VC Professor Ahsan Waheed Rathore while giving a presentation on varsity’s functions and achievements said that 110 postgraduate and 26 undergraduate programs were being run by the UHS. He said that the country was facing a shortage of nurses and allied health professionals and the university was paying special attention to this issue by launching undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the disciplines.
He further said that the university’s performance in research had been remarkable, which was evident from its H-index of 30.5. He added that a research coordination center had been established to bring all research activities under one roof. He highlighted the university’s recent reforms in the curriculum and evaluation system.
WHO Punjab Head Dr Jamshed Ahmed, UHS Registrar Dr Asad Zaheer, and senior faculty members were present at the meeting. On the occasion, Dr Palitha Mahipala was appointed as an adjunct faculty of the university.