Khyber Medical University (KMU) Peshawar, Health Department Govt. of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and National Institute of Health (NIH) Islamabad in the presence of Speaker Provincial Assembly Asad Qaisar signed an MOU here at KMU in connection to establish a state of the art Public Health Reference Lab (PHRL) at KMU-IBMS. VC KMU Prof Dr Muhammad Hafizullah, Additional Secretary Health KP Masood Younas and Executive Director NIH Islamabad Dr Mukhtar Ahmad signed MOU while representing their respective organizations. Besides Speaker Pronivincial Assembly Asad Qaisar, DG Health Services KP Dr Said Ali Khan,Dir IBMS-KMU Prof Dr Jawad Ahmad, Dy. Director Public Health DG Health Office KP Dr. Shaheen Afridi, Dir ORIC KMU Dr Zia ul Haq, faculty, researchers and other stake holders were also present at the signing ceremony.
It is worth mentioning that currently, NIH Islamabad is the only public health reference lab in the country possessing reference lab capacities in this context the said Public Health Lab is considered to be a vital component in the Disease Surveillance System and it will be established at KMU-IBMS. The proposed PHRL will confirm the presence of outbreak and will give guidance to Government on various public health issues particularly the infectious diseases surveillance and response; upon which evidence based decision making will be taken.
According to the details of MoU the proposed PHRL will enable detection, characterization and tracing of disease transmission which is essential for the prevention and control of public health events. The PHRL will generate information that is essential for guiding responses to infectious disease outbreaks by public health practitioners, epidemiologists and clinicians; and framing directions for health policy and strategy with regards to communicable diseases.
The PHRL shall be governed and operationalized by two bodies i.e Oversight committee which shall be responsible to make strategic and policy decisions for all matters pertaining to Lab and the other one will be Technical Committee which shall be responsible to closely oversee the technical aspects of the Lab with special emphasis on the management of the facility.
In the MOU it was agreed that two floors in IBMS building will be allocated for PHRL which will initially be focusing on lab confirmation for notifiable communicable diseases; the ambit of which will be further expanded to non-communicable diseases in the future. To roll out the process of establishment of PHRL Dr. Zia Ul-Haq, KMU, Dr. Shaheen Afridi, Department of Health KP and Dr. Uzma Aamir, NIH Islamabad were identified as focal persons from their respective organizations. (PR)
Earlier while talking to the MOU signing ceremony as chief guest Provincial Speaker Asad Qaisar said that establishment of PHRL at a medical university is a unique experiment of its kind in the whole region. It will be the only first and only provincial PHRL after the NIH and is a moment of pride for KMU and Department of Health KP.
He hoped that PHRL will not only provide an opportunity to young researchers to diagnose various public health issues but to enable the Health Deptt to overcome the burden of various public health related diseases.