An isolation center and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and set up by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Medical Emergency Resilience Foundation (MERF) was inaugurated in Peshawar on Thursday, July 9th, 2020.

Gracing the event as Chief Guest, Mahmood Khan, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, appraised the provisions and services at the specialized COVID-19 health facility. Speaking on the occasion and commending the initiative, he said, “Today, the Provincial Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa takes the concept of Public-Private partnership to the next level. Masses from all across the province will be able to avail first class treatment right here in Peshawar, at no cost to them. This was the dream of the PTI Government and the Prime Minister, Imran Khan, to ensure world class medical access to the common man, for free. I would like to thank the EU, IRC and MERF for helping us realise this dream.”

The 567 million PKR provided by ECHO is part of a bigger EU-package of COVID-19 response to Pakistan to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and strengthen health system capacities and infrastructure in Pakistan. IRC and its partner MERF have a special focus on supporting government isolation facilities accompanied with comprehensive mass awareness campaigns across Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

This is the first isolation center being set up under this project and is augmented initially with a five-bedded ICU, 16 High Dependency Units, and 40-bedded isolation capacity. The following center has been set up as a model center based on global SOPs and guidelines. The facility is fully equipped with ventilators, monitors, oxygen, ABG machines, infusion pumps and other accessary equipment to manage hypoxemic respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), septic shock, and other related complications resulting from COVID-19. There is also special emphasis on accessibility provisions for the elderly and persons with disabilities.

IRC and MERF will be establishing two more Intensive Care Units (ICU) and accompanied isolation centers in Quetta and Karachi. Moreover, this project will also support provision of much needed Human Resources, including managers, doctors, specialist, support staff, etc., and will provide facilitation of 45,000 screening tests across designated districts and sites, provide Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS), and equip the government centers with essential medical equipment and supplies including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

The ECHO financed action of the IRC is an immediate ‘pandemic emergency response’ support extended to the Government of Pakistan aiming to contain spread of virus by strengthening system’s capacities and enhancing mass awareness. The action will be implemented in conjunction with key government counterparts at national, provincial and district levels including but not limited to the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination (MoNHS R&C) and its designated focal point, the National Institute for Health (NIH) at federal level, Departments of Health in KP, Sindh and Baluchistan provinces and relevant district authorities. IRC’s COVID-19 action plan is also in conjunction with the Government of Pakistan’s Preparedness and Response Plan (PPRP) and will directly benefit over 87,130 individuals via designated isolation centers, testing capacity facilities alongside raising awareness of another six million people across Pakistan.

“This comprehensive intervention is the result of engaging key stakeholders at the federal, provincial and district levels, and gaining invaluable insights into real on-ground needs and required support”, states the Country Director IRC, Adnan Bin Junaid. “In addition, given that the threat of COVID-19 is so pervasive, the mass sensitization campaign will facilitate the strengthening of health systems by slowing the spread to manageable levels while we support the government of Pakistan in building the current healthcare capacity.”

Lauding the facility, Bernard Jaspers Faijer, Head of Office ECHO Pakistan, said, “The European Union stands with Pakistan in this time when the health sector is under immense pressure to cope with the challenges caused by the coronavirus. Many countries all around the world are affected by it and the European Union considers it very important to assist each where possible.”

Notes for the Journalists/ Media Personnel

ECHO is the European Commission’s department for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations. ECHO provides needs-based humanitarian assistance to the people hit by man-made and natural disasters with particular attention to the most vulnerable victims. More information can be found at:

Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is currently delivering in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities, helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. In the wake of the pandemic, IRC has realigned its projects to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in Pakistan, and ECHO has provided funding to strengthen this response.

For information and queries:

Asfandyar Munir

Media and Communication Manager

International Rescue Committee

0301 1197706

Hasan Raza

Communications Specialist

Medical Emergency Resilience Foundation

0303 0674199