Turkey, Pakistan seek further cooperation in healthcare
Senior official from Turkish aid agency, TIKA, meets Punjab chief minister in Lahore.
A top official from Turkey's governmental relief agency, TIKA, met the chief minister of Punjab province Tuesday to discuss ways of extending Turkish cooperation in the fields of healthcare and skill development in the northeastern province, according to a statement by the Punjab government, according to Anadolu Agency.
During the meeting in the provincial capital Lahore, Kamil Kolabas, adviser to the president of Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif discussed issues of mutual interest, the statement said.
Turkey's health ministry is already assisting the Punjab government with the establishment of an electronic hospital information system in the provincial hospitals.
Shahbaz Sharif appreciated the assistance and investment provided by the Turkish government and private sector in different sectors in the province, saying Turkey’s cooperation, particularly in skill development sector, would provide new employment opportunities to youths.
"Turkey has always stood alongside Pakistan in testing times", Shahbaz said, adding that the two nations were like "one soul in two hearts".
The chief minister also noted that Turkey had achieved immense progress and prosperity under the dynamic leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Kolabas, for his part, assured Shahbaz that Ankara would continue to assist the Punjab government in healthcare, skill development and other sectors, the statement added.
Punjab chief minister also informed Kolabas that the Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital, which is located in the remote Muzaffargarh district, was all set for a massive expansion with 400 new beds.
The Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital Trust in Muzaffargarh district, located some 380 kilometers (236 miles) off Lahore, was given as a gift by Turkey to Pakistan around three years ago. It began its operations on July 14, 2014, with 60 beds; a year later, 40 more beds were added to the hospital.
The provincial Punjab government is now funding the expansion of the hospital, which provides free healthcare to all patients irrespective of their backgrounds.