ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Health Abdul Qadir Patel held a meeting with Dr. Bahram Einollahi, Minister of Health & Medical Education, Iran on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly in Geneva. Minister said Pakistan and Iran enjoy long-standing brotherly relations. Both countries have a commonality of views on global public health issues. Enhanced consultation and coordination would be useful, he said. Iran has carried out excellent reforms in the health sector especially in terms of improving health care services. Iran has done commendable work in extending health insurance coverage, he said. The situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates stepped-up bilateral cooperation and exchange of views. Achieving international public health security remains a key objective. It will however face challenges of funding sources and priorities, he said. Pakistan believes that there is a need for enhanced international cooperation and assistance to strengthen national health systems and to ensure all people enjoy the basic right to health. Both dignitaries consider areas of cooperation including enhanced cross border cooperation for infectious diseases control, exchange of experts for technical assistance on Universal Health Coverage focusing on strengthening public health and primary health care delivery, Exchange of healthcare financing experts for lesson sharing and guidance for developing healthcare financing policies, cooperation in medical training and research, and assist medical professionals by granting fellowships from respective institutions and cooperation in developing mental health infrastructure and training regarding mental health services in outreach facilities. During the meeting, it was highlighted that in the global health context, both countries should work closely with the other EMRO Member States and WHO to ensure that realization of tangible measures to promote health remains at the forefront of the global development agenda. For this purpose, it was agreed that the respective Missions of both countries in Geneva may work closely, especially on important matters like the upcoming negotiations on the proposed pandemic treaty, International Health Regulations amendments, and sustainable finances of WHO. Pakistan has recently been selected as one of the recipients of mRNA technology. Once this arrangement matures, we would help expand vaccine supply to the EMRO region and beyond, the Minister shared. The two sides decided to form a joint working group to further explore opportunities. DG Health Pakistan and Special Assistant to the Iranian Health Minister were identified as focal points from both sides.