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's 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, Maleeha Lodhi, and Consul General Raja Ali Ejaz.
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's in the areas of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, social and behaviour 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 and KP and FATA.
It would determine how it can leverage networks and resources in 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 quality of care.
While speaking on the occasion, APPNA Chief Qureshi welcomed signing of 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 Pakistani people.
Ambassador Lodhi, in her concluding remarks, said that 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.